Farm Ireland

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Change feed to save cash, beef finishers told

Caitriona Murphy

Caitriona Murphy

Beef finishers can save money this winter by changing their feed ingredients, farmers at the Teagasc winter cattle seminar were told on Thursday.

Some winter finishers can get too hung up on using individual ingredients instead of choosing ingredients based on the diet specification, Teagasc nutrition expert Siobhan Kavanagh said.

"Buy your feed based on energy content and the required nutritional specification," she urged finishers.


Ms Kavanagh quoted the example of a 2009 diet costing €158/t that consisted of 50pc barley, 20pc maize meal, 11pc citrus pulp, 18pc rapeseed meal and 1pc minerals.

"In 2001, that same mixture cost €220/t, because of the higher ingredient costs," she explained.

However, when the ration was adjusted to include 50pc barley, 21pc citrus pulp, 28pc distillers and 1pc minerals, it cost €198/t, based on today's ingredient prices.

The nutrition expert advised farmers to buy their rations based on energy content or UFV value.

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"I looked at two rations today that offered 0.83 UFV and 0.96 UFV, a big difference in energy content," she told the meeting.

"But there was only €5 difference in the price per tonne."

She also urged farmers to consider buying bulk feed instead of bags, adding that some bagged rations cost up to €40/t more than they would in bulk, while some merchants were offering €10/t discounts for cash payments.

"Buy your feed from a licensed supplier only," she warned farmers. "Your single farm payment will be at risk if you get a cross compliance check."

Caitriona Murphy

Irish Independent