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Importance of Ration Studies for Animal Welfare and Profit

The technology and techniques used in all products and services that we use in every aspect of our lives are different today when compared to 30 years ago. So, we should make a positive change in our country’s livestock model or at least in terms of the technology and techniques we use in animal nutrition. Every step that our producers will take according to their own production scales will benefit both themselves and the livestock economy.

Vet. Physician Okan YAVUZ
Farm Support Manager
Abalıoğlu Tarımsal Üretim A.Ş.

In livestock raising, feeding costs have increased significantly recently. Behind this recent hike, there are many reasons such as the increase in the cost of buying or producing feed ingredients because of foreign exchange, climate change, the insufficient amount of land per animal used in production, and the inability to have optimal efficiency in these lands. No matter what these reasons are behind the recent hike, the increasing cost is the reality for small, middle, and big-sized producers and investors. National and global measures to solve this problem should be examined under the responsibility of the relevant parties.

In this period, if the producers and investors carry out the right practices for their enterprises, these practices would help them to take advantage of this negative process and to leave this negative process behind sooner.

In the past period, a large part of producers increased the use of coarse fodder to deal with the increased costs of nutrition. In this way, they decreased the efficiency level and costs. Because of using coarse fodder, the coarse fodder stock has depleted at an early date, and they bought expensive coarse fodder in the off-season, and reproduction and performance of milk efficiency lowered, and there has been loss in weight of livestock which lowered the profit. Increased feed costs have increased the minimum yield level that can profit. Consequently, it has become essential to increase yield performance in order to maintain operational profitability.

OPTIMAL USAGE OF EXPENSIVE RESOURCES AND IMPORTANCE OF RATION PREPARING
One of the lowest investment cost approaches to improve yield performance is the efficient use of feed ingredients already obtained at high costs. There are some ingredient groups in which each producer has an advantage. These resources should be used within the limits of the possibilities of feed preparation operation in accordance with the costs, stock status, regional conditions, and breeding type. It is best to start this study during the purchase or harvest periods of feed ingredients and even earlier in case it is to be planted. Annual needs should be determined and movements within the herd (births, animals to be taken to dry feed period, animals to be slaughtered, animals to be procured…) should be calculated. In this way, feed ingredients will be enough continuously during the year, and ration changes will be at the minimum level. With the products obtained during the period, the cost will be reduced.

If producers have excessive amounts of certain raw materials (production or stocking at an affordable price…), that would create a great advantage. However, serving a ration consisting only from corn silage to animals may not yield positive results just because there is twice the annual silage of maize silage. If the producer has cost-effective energy sources, they should be supplemented with protein sources; if coarse feed or concentrate sources including protein are abundant, that should be evaluated from the perspective of energy sources. Feed mills understood the animal husbandry model very well and they have developed dozens of different kinds of complementary concentrate products to complement the missing resources of manufacturers. There are also companies that provide widespread technical support for the proper use of these products.

Economic losses in animals that do not consume a balanced and adequate ration do not reveal themselves not only in the form of loss of meat and milk yield that occurs in a short time. Clinical and subclinical metabolic and infectious diseases encountered in breeding milk and feeder cattle reduce the time that animals stay productive in the herd and increase veterinary health costs. Especially, it is a big problem that the genetic potential of young breeding animals is not revealed. In order to get an economic benefit from breeding animals and/or quality sperms that were purchased with the expectation of having superior gene quality and to lower foreign dependency in this regard, it is of great importance to invest in the proper nutrition of young animals.

Ration preparation in animal nutrition and the management of feed ingredients and feed can help to manage the crisis periods just like in any economic scenario. From time to time, producers change the ratio of ingredients and the ratio that serve to animals because they could not get the efficiency performance they were promised to, and their expectations cannot be met, and there is a periodical change in price or there are speculations that they hear from their neighbors. The lower the frequency and amount of these changes, the better the digestive system of ruminant animals can adapt. Any changes to the nutrition program should be evaluated with the nutritionist, and this change should be followed up with a transient prescription if necessary. In order to maintain the yield performance throughout the production season, the rations of animals are required to be updated at certain periods.

In order to prepare the correct ration, it is required to have high consistency assessment of business and animal data, the examination of laboratory analysis of raw material contents, consideration of the operation management and feed preparation operation, consideration of environmental factors such as temperature and humidity, and assessment of ingredient stock and market conditions. In addition, factors such as the last ration, milk content, and transport status should be taken into consideration as well. Considering that the technical equipment of the livestock enterprises is open to improvement in our country in this sense, it will be beneficial for the enterprises to work with nutritionists.

The technology and techniques used in all products and services that we use in every aspect of our lives are different today when compared to 30 years ago. So, we should make a positive change in our country’s livestock model or at least in terms of the technology and techniques we use in animal nutrition. Every step that our producers will take according to their own production scales will benefit both themselves and the livestock economy.

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