Permanent focus on feeding pays off
PERMANENT FOCUS ON FEEDING PAYS OFF FOR NIELS OTTO LUND
- Began using the NorFor Feed Ration OptimizerTM in 2015
- Average milk yield is up 700 kg (2016)
- Higher awareness of efficient use of the farm’s feedstuffs
- Improved employee involvement
- Using the Feed Control Module has resulted in more frequent fine tuning of the ration
- Frequent follow-ups means better control and better results
One year of using the NorFor Feed Ration OptimizerTM increased milk yield and enhanced feed efficiency at Niels Otto Lund’s organic dairy farm in Southern Denmark.
In the summer of 2015, dairy farmer Niels Otto Lund from Bredebro started using the NorFor Feed Ration OptimizerTM concept in feeding his 350 organic Holstein cows. This has benefited the economy of his business as well as the day-to-day operation of the farm.
“In one year, our average milk yield has increased by 700 kg to approximately 9.2 tonnes. At the same time, increased focus on feeding has made me and my employees extremely aware of the importance of using resources properly, in particular not overfeeding the cows”, says Niels Otto Lund.
He was prompted to become a NorFor user by an advertisement from SEGES, inviting dairy farmers to test the system, including on-farm instruction and training.
“Management was also part of the concept, and in our case the involvement of my employee Kasper Warming was vital. In fact, he became responsible for performing the feeding controls. Now, both of us are well informed about how the feeding progresses. And we are better equipped to determine what to do next”, Niels Otto Lund adds.
Employees stay longer
Using the NorFor Feeding Control module as a follow-up tool not only generates discussions.
“Deviations from the feeding plan are shown in red on the screen. If they occur, we adjust the amount of soy protein or change the silage composition. We make more adjustments than before”, says Niels Otto Lund.
He points out that delegating knowledge and responsibility about the essential feeding has added advantages:
“This way, employees and management are linked together, both feeling a sense of ‘ownership’ of the business. By feeling more attached to the farm and the herd, employees tend to stay on longer, which is beneficial to the continuity and in the end also the economy of the business”.
Niels Otto adds that co-operation with his regular adviser is still an important part of the business practices:
“We discuss the results of the feeding controls on a regular basis, but the number of sessions has been reduced, as the adviser does not have to perform any manual calculations. That means we can save money – or spend the time on more productive issues”.
FARMER: Niels Otto Lund
LOCATION: Southern Jutland, Denmark
NUMBER OF COWS: 350
BREED: Danish Holstein in organic production
AVERAGE MILK YIELD, kg ecm/cow/year: 9,200
Advisers – facilitating and adding value
“Both farmers and their advisers benefit from the farmers undertaking their own feeding controls”, says Aase Holmgaard, an organic dairy adviser who works with Niels Otto Lund’s dairy farm, among others, on a regular basis.
“Farmers can dive deeper into the substance of the controls and discover how the results can be used, especially compared to the feeding strategy and possible follow-up initiatives. At the same time, advisers are able to change their role, facilitating and adding value to the process in new ways”, Aase continues. To her, the keywords are high frequency:
“Feeding control can be done easily and frequently. On that basis, advisers can monitor the herd much more closely, with better results. The more often you bring feeding into focus, the more certain you can be about the direction you are taking”.
In Aase Holmgaard’s opinion, the yield increase seen in Niels Otto Lund’s herd is without a doubt a result of their intensive follow-up efforts.