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Dairy Cattle and Using of Concentrated Feed in Tough Times

Prof. Dr. Armağan HAYIRLI , Atatürk University-Faculty of Veterinary, Department of Animal Nutrition and Nutritional Diseases : “If alfalfa, corn silage and hay are expensive, proportion of roughage should be reduced to prevent metabolic diseases and infertility in animal and concentrated feed should be increased. In addition, shipping cost for roughage is four times more than that of concentrated feed. Considering this, it is seen that expensive concentrated feed is cheaper than roughage in current conditions.”

armaganAnimal husbandry starts with earth management and plant nutrition. Problems at this phase can be listed as follows;

1. Multipartite and very small terrains,

2. Faults in manure management,

3. Inadequate watering,

4. Incompetent mechanization / Unidentifiable true mechanization,

5. Unidentifiable true product and

6. Climatic changes (drought/flood) which is the most important.

 It is possible to obtain product/material from cow to provide income in 3 different ways; milk from udder, calf from uterus and feces from rectum (fertilizer)… Assuming that measures against diseases are taken and treatments are successfully made at the early stage, number of days in which the cow is milked is highly important in efficient milk production. Long-time milking (>365 days) is not always profitable. In other words, milk production activity of the cow milked for 305 days is more advantageous than that of cow milked for 365 days. Considering dry period lasts 60 days, calving interval will be 365 and 425 days. Much as it is aimed in books “1 calf and 305 days of milking from a cow per year”, it is almost impossible to achieve this. In a facility, the ratio of cows ensuring this criteria is 10 percent. In today’s Holstein stock genetics, calving interval between 2.0-3.0 insemination and 425 days is kind of a success. In brief, the main factor determining the number of days of milking is that which day of milking the cow gets pregnant. Dry period in highly productive cows is reduced up to 30 days and the number of days of milking can be increased to +30. As calving interval extends, milk income/feed expense rate is disadvantageous to the producer.

 In terms of feeding, the sole factor determining the profitability of the facility is “roughage production or purchase”. In a Holstein farm, it is assumed that there are 100 Holstein cows (85 dairy + 15 dry), cattles are sold after weaning and cows are brought to the facility at the age of 25 months.

Holstein: 100

Dairy: 85

Dry: 15

Annual birth: 100 x 365 / 425 = 86

Female Calf: 86 / 2 = 43

 If the rate of Holstein rate of female calves is 85 percent, 43 x (85/100) x 12 months / 25 months maternal age = 35 heifer attendance/year.

In other words, there are 100 Holstein + 70 (35 x 2 years) replacement cows in this facility.

If there is a milk productivity fixed to 9 tons/305 days annually, then 10.770 lt of milk is obtained in 425 days (365 days of milking) in this facility (9.000 x 365 / 305).

 If this facility applies 52% roughage + 48% concentrated feed in 365 days of milking process, and applies 80% roughage + 20% concentrated feed in the dry period, the feeding status is as indicated in the Table 1. In this case, amount of feed required for 100 Holstein cows and 70 heifers is shown in the Table 2.

 Ratio of revenue and expenses between milk and feed is (milk: 1.25 TRY/lt) 13.463 ÷ 8.078 = 1.67 considering that milk revenue is 10.770 x 1,25 = 13.463 TRY and feed expense is 22.13 x 365 = 8.078 TRY. In today’s conditions, considering other operational expenses and costs, it will be obvious that milk cattle breeding is a loss business.

 The purpose of this article is to show what a producer should be done due to drought and lack of roughage in the period of 2017-2018. If alfalfa, corn silage and hay are expensive, proportion of roughage should be reduced to prevent metabolic diseases and infertility in animal and concentrated feed should be increased. Note: Shipping cost for roughage is four times more than that of concentrated feed. Considering this, it is seen that expensive concentrated feed is cheaper than roughage in current conditions.

 In this example, it is assumed that a facility having above features will make the roughage ratio -5, and concentrated feed ratio +5 point and obtain a milk productivity fixed to 10 tones/305 days on average per year. In this facility, 11.967 lt of milk will be obtained in 425 days (365 days of milking) (10000 x 365 /305). In amount calculation, alfalfa costs 0.95 TRY/kg, corn silage is 0.35 TRY/kg and hay is 0.50 TRY/kg within the production year of 2017-2018. Increase in concentrated feed is accepted at 10 percent. Price of milk per liter is estimated as 1.30 TRY.

 Ratio of revenue and expenses between milk and feed is (milk: 1.30 TRY/lt) 14.001 ÷ 10.939 = 1.28 considering that milk revenue is 10.770 x 1.30 = 14.001 TRY and feed expense is 29.97 x 365 = 10.939 TRY.

 In the current condition, ratio between milk revenue and feed expense will be reduced from 1.67 to 1.28, annual feed expense will increase from 1.153.877 to 1.595.651 TRY. What should this facility do is:
1. To sell the animals and become retired.

2. To reduce roughage -5 points and increase concentrated feed +5 points.

3. To find ways to sell milk in more expensive prices (for example; turning into product) or to do Article 2 and Article 3 simultaneously.

 If Article 2 is applied:
As seen in this facility, feed cost is increased to 1.622.096 TRY. However, ratio between milk revenue and feed expense is not 1.28, but 1.39 (milk: 1.30 TRY/lt, 11.967 lt x 1.30 = 15.557 TL revenue, 30.67 x 365 = 11.194 TL feed expense, 15.557 ÷ 11.194 = 1.39).

 As a result, in today’s conditions, increasing milk productivity by feeding milk cow with minimal roughage (NDF, ADF and eNDF with high digestibility) to prevent metabolic diseases is a strategy to reduce losses of facilities partially. In general, increasing training level of technical and auxiliary staff, preparing/implementing permanent and consistent animal husbandry policy in the country will be highly important in future periods.

We also suggest you to read our previous article titled "Good quality feed pellets does it make sense?".

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