Controlling winter feeding costs – Planning starts now! Key feature of AFBI Dairy Open Day

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Recent research on winter feeding is just one of many topics which will be featured at the Dairy Open Day at AFBI Hillsborough.

The event, which is being organised by AFBI, in conjunction with AgriSearch, CAFRE and the Ulster Grassland Society, will take place on Wednesday 16 September.

With feed costs comprising 60–70% of variable costs on Northern Ireland dairy farms, and milk prices forecast to remain low for the foreseeable future, getting feeding correct this winter is a key priority for all dairy farmers.

While there are early indications that the quality of first cut silage this year is better than during 2013, initial results from the Hillsborough Feeding Information Service suggests considerable farm-to-farm variation. Knowing the quality of silage in your pit is critical to ensure concentrate feed levels are correct. Over-feeding of concentrates must be avoided next winter, so early analysis of silage is strongly recommended.

In addition, the effects of concentrate feeding strategies and the benefits of targeting concentrates to individual cows will be highlighted. Information will also be available on the relative feed value of a range of alternative feeds, with staff on-hand to discuss both dry cow and heifer feeding strategies.

Information presented during the day is designed to assist farmers make informed decisions on the most efficient way of using of expensive feed stuffs this coming winter. So, plan to attend this important event at this difficult time for the dairy industry.