Full use of roughage

SWEDISH DAIRY FARMER


Six years ago the feeding strategy at Komstagården in the south of Sweden was thoroughly revised. The farm, which is run by Eva and Roland Persson together with their son Emil Persson, started to use NorFor. The system was introduced to the farm by Eva-Maria Lidström, a far-sighted dairy consultant in the region. When the feed rations had been recalculated with NorFor, the cows started to eat more silage.

The roughage content in the feed rations increased by nine percent and the need for concentrate was lowered accordingly.

Same amount of milk, but at a much lower cost
For Komstagården this meant that they produced the same amount of milk, but at a much lower cost. At the time they had 200 cows and the cost of commercial feedstuffs was reduced by almost 20,000 dollars per year. It was mainly in the later part of the lactation that they were able to decrease the amount of concentrate in the feed rations. They also recall that the cows suddenly consumed in average two kg dry matter of silage more than what was possible according to the old feeding standards.
At the same time the fertility was unchanged and no other changes in animal welfare were observed.

Continued to develop the feeding
Since then a lot has happened on the farm. In the beginning of 2009 the dairy production moved into a new barn with four AMS-boxes and capacity for 280 milking cows. The farmers at Komstagården have continued to develop the feeding and are now using a partly mixed ration for all lactating cows. This mixture is composed for 27 kilo ECM per cow per day. In addition, the cows are fed concentrate individually in the AMS-boxes. The maximum amount of concentrate is five kg per day for the highest yielding cows.


Increase the roughage
Since NorFor was introduced at the farm much more attention has been put to the cow´s ability to eat roughage. Roughage is produced on the farm and if it can be used efficiently a lot is gained. "I have seen that this strategy works", says Emil Persson. He is convinced that they are able to reach an annual milk production of 11500 kg ECM. "But we will not increase the amount of concentrate in the feed rations. We will increase the roughage instead. The cows can eat more roughage if they produce more milk". Emil is also aware of the importance of introducing this roughage strategy already when growing the heifers. The heifers need to develop their rumens early, so that they get a good capacity to house large amounts of silage when they are older.
Emil Persson runs a dairy cow farm together with his parents 86 kilometers east of Malmö in the south of Sweden.


Facts

NAMES: Eva and Roland Persson and Emil Persson
NUMBER OF DAIRY COWS: 285
BREED: Swedish Holstein
AVERAGE MILK YIELD: 10 800 kg ECM/cow/year
FEED RATION: (kg feed/cow/day/27 kg ECM)
Grass/clover/
alfalfa silage: 16 kg
Maize silage: 17 kg
Barley straw: 0,3 kg
Minerals: 0,1 kg
Concentrate: 3,5 kg
Extra concentrate to the highest yielding cows in the AMS boxes.

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