At the Amelicor 2019 Herd and Feed Management Conference dairy producers gathered from all over the world. Robb Bender (a consultant and partner in GPS Dairy Consulting, LLC) was one of the keynote speakers and you can watch his presentation on World Class Feed Management Goals in the video below… but here are a few key takeaways in his words.
We’ve all heard the expression “cows crave consistency” to stay healthy and produce a large amount of milk with good components. We’ve identified 11 goals dairies can use to rank their feeder performance and determine improvement areas.
- Feed drop times are plus or minus 20 minutes of scheduled delivery time. Schedule and post feed delivery times and stick to them. Consistency is key to managing weigh-back amounts.
- Bunk management is regularly evaluated, with the goal of continuously providing a fresh, high-quality, well-mixed and non-sortable ration. Make sure to deliver feed to the full bunk length available while regularly pushing up feed to keep it available at all times.
- Weigh-backs visually appear similar to fresh TMR and are accurately recorded by pen and weigh-back goals are established for the dairy. We recommend limiting weigh-backs to about 2.5% for lactating pens and allowing for 5% to 8% weigh-backs in the critically important fresh cow and prefresh pens where pen counts are often in flux. Heifers and far-off dry cows can be limited to less than 2%.
- Dry matters are checked and adjusted at least once or twice per week on all Get your calves forages and estimated when snowing/raining during loading. Empower the feeder with training and the proper tools to measure and record dry matter without supervision.
- Feed Quality — There is zero tolerance for moldy or heated feed in any ration by any feeder.
- Ingredients are not allowed to run out. The majority of ingredient supply issues are due to a breakdown in communication between the feeder, owner, nutrition consultant and/or supplier.
- Silage transitions among bunkers, bags or piles take at least 10 days with at least two feed tests required before feeding 100% new forage. Easing into the new forage over a period of at least 10 days limits disruptions and allows time for for.age analyses to come back and ration adjustments to be made if needed.
- Face Management — All forage piles and bunkers are faced or raked daily with forages com.mingled prior to feeding.
- Ingredient deviations are monitored on a regular basis to ensure accuracy of less than 30 lb. DM on forages, less than 15 lb. DM on protein/grain mixes, less than 25 lb. DM on commodities, and less than 2% deviation on overall total loads.
- Daily intake variation is no more than 5% total within a pen. For example, if your average DM intake for a pen is 60 lb. DM, your variation from day to day should be no more than 3.0 lb. DM (60 x 0.05 = 3) total, or 58.5 lb. to 61.5 lb. DM.
- Safety is of utmost importance to the dairy. Set high safety standards for your dairy and make sure everyone (including the owner) is held accountable.