Feed costs

Manage feed costs on your farm smartly

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Feed costs account for major part of the total production costs in livestock farming. The spiralling price of feed is placing the financial results under increasing pressure. But there are gains to be made by cutting feed costs on almost all pig and poultry farms. Without compromising on the technical results. Quite the opposite in fact, as a balanced feed strategy ensures optimal production from your animals.  There are certain points to consider when using a smart strategy to cut feed costs on your farm.

Insight into feed costs

Insight into the feed costs is the first step in making improvements, so it is sensible to start registering feed consumption. An automated feeding process often includes extensive registration options to keep track on stocks and monitor daily consumption. Even a simple feeding system has feed clocks that register the running times of the system. This also creates an insight into how much feed is consumed on a daily basis. And you can notice any abnormal patterns at once. This helps you control feed costs, while abnormalities are a good indicator of any infections or diseases.


Create a good house climate

If the house climate is correctly controlled, the animals remain in their comfort zone under all circumstances. This ensures that what they eat is used for its intended purpose - to grow and perform - and not diverted to maintain their body heat. If the temperature in the house becomes too high, the animals experience heat stress. Their feed intake will decrease and growth will start to stagnate. Catching up on this weight loss is only possible by providing more feed. The climate system also monitors the indoor air quality and can prevent animals suffering from respiratory infections.

Monitor the body condition of your animals

Assessing the body condition is an important indicator of the health, well-being and productivity of your animals. Overweight animals are not only less productive but also likely to have eaten too much feed. That is not positive for your feed efficiency rate. An underweight animal can never perform optimally. Remarkably high numbers of pig and poultry farmers still rely on periodic manual weighing to monitor the weight of their animals, although an automatic animal weighing system is much more reliable. An additional benefit is that it also saves time, prevents stress in the house and reduces the risk of introducing diseases. Farmers who switch to an automatic animal weighing system have much better insight into the performance of their animals and can make adjustments aimed at improving the results. Thanks to this, the extra investment in the system is quickly recovered.

Stop feed waste

If you want to minimise feed waste it is important to choose the right feeder or trough. It should be easy for the animals to access. Another way to reduce waste is by protecting the feed against rodents and other pests until it actually reaches the feeder. A maybe less obvious, but certainly equally effective, method of reducing feed waste is by feeding on demand. Make sure you set the feeding times correctly and increase the size of the portions in line with feed curves. And also check straight away whether the animal has eaten all of its feed ration. This ensures the ration in the feeder is always fresh and palatable for the animals.


Periodic maintenance ensures frictionless feed distribution

An automatic feeding system saves time and automatically ensures your animals are dosed the right amount of feed at the right time. Generally, the more advanced the feeding system is, the higher the number of control points. System malfunctions are not only a source of annoyance, they can also disrupt animal growth and even affect feed quality. Closely monitor the stocks of feed, clean the feed lines regularly, periodically inspect the mechanical parts in your installation and check the accuracy of feed weighing. Then you can rely on a frictionless feeding process.

Critically examine the feed composition during the growth curve

Feed efficiency is optimal when you provide the animals with precisely what they need. This is not only the size of the feed ration, but also the composition of the feed. The art is to provide exactly the right quantity of mineral rich feed - without giving too much or too little as Mineral rich feed will drive up the costs. The energy requirements of the animals change as they mature or have to deliver a higher performance. By feeding exactly the ration they need at a particular stage of life, the animals will perform optimally. If you adapt the feed composition too late, you will provide mineral rich, and therefore more expensive, feed unnecessarily for too long. The surplus minerals will also be released to the environment, leading to unnecessarily high nitrogen and phosphorous emissions.

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