How to create your 2022 feed plan
By: Jay Giesy, Dairy Technical Services and Nutrition Lead
I’m sure that “strategic plan for 2022” or some variation of this has been on your to-do list for a while now. You might be asking yourself where to start?
Well, why not start with the biggest expense on your dairy.
Depending upon the region, feed costs make up 40 to 60% of a dairy’s operational costs and managing these numbers—along with feed efficiency and feed management—not only impacts profitability but can have positive effects on animal health and reproduction.
A review of your dairy’s performance measurements and rations can indicate opportunities and challenges. When formulating your strategic plan for 2022, try this approach:
- Measure performance
- Review nutrients and rations
- Identify goals along with clear steps for action
Component Efficiency (CE) is pounds of components divided by pounds of dry matter intake and multiplied by 100 (calculate CE here). An 11% CE is an obtainable goal and can be accomplished through solid nutrition and rumen health. Today’s Holstein cattle have the genetic potential to produce well above 3.8% butterfat and 3% protein. Additionally, these numbers can be influenced another 0.10% by using supplements and additives, if and only if, it is economically feasible.
Income Over Feed Costs (IOFC) or Feed Over Energy Corrected Milk is typically calculated on a per cow per day basis. For this calculation, three parameters must be known: milk yield (lbs./cow/day), milk price ($/cwt), and feed costs ($/cow/day). To calculate feed costs, the ingredient composition of the diet being fed (lbs./cow/day) and the price of each ingredient ($/ton) must be known.
Review nutrients and rations
Not all ingredients provide the same level of nutrients. For instance, both canola meal and soybean meal are popular ingredients for providing protein. The cow doesn't need protein per se, rather, she requires the amino acids that are the building blocks of protein. Many ration models focus primarily on lysine and methionine, but research clearly shows a need to focus on others as well, such as phenylalanine and histidine.
We cannot forget to mention the largest portion of dairy cow diets—forages. Forages are critical to maintaining rumen health by providing physically effective NDF, but also dictate performance and efficiency through the digestibility of NDF. Testing forages and analyzing the reports can help you get the most out of your bought and home-grown forages. . General guidelines for Acid Detergent Fiber (ADF), Neutral Detergent Fiber (NDF), and NDF from Forage (NDF-Forage) in final rations are shown in Table 1.
Table 1. Ration guidelines for fiber (University of Minnesota)
Identify goals along with clear steps for action
Your farm’s success starts with choosing and using the right partners. You may rely on family, employees, nutritionists, veterinarians, consultants, and even technology to keep the parlor turning. Throughout the planning process, work with your strategic team—or build one—to gain insight, utilize expertise, and delegate work.
Sometimes taking action can be as simple as implementing new standard operating procedures (SOPs), while other goals may involve investing in labor saving equipment or better technology.
What and how animals are fed affects all aspects of a dairy. View our brief video to learn how we are approaching nutrition and helping herds thrive. Cargill’s Dairy Team offers support for improving component efficiency with a feed ration review and analysis that can help you in the strategic planning process.