Work out total energy intakes to boost stock performances
Any compound feed is best defined by its energy, protein, mineral and fibre content. Is there a difference between concentrate types, eg standard beef mixes, 'specials' (ie, ingredient-content specified) and home-mixed concentrates?
The nutrient content of the compound feed is more critical than the individual ingredients in it, provided low quality ingredients are not included at high levels.
Typically, concentrate feeds in this country are bought solely on the basis of crude protein content, which is incorrect unless a protein balancer is required.
Energy is the most limiting nutrient when finishing cattle or milking cows. If cows are not milking as well as they should be or milk protein is low or finishing cattle are not performing, energy, not protein, is the first nutrient that should be checked. That means checking total energy intake from forage and concentrate.
Always ask for the energy content -- expressed as UFV for finishing cattle and UFL for suckler or milking cows -- of the ration.
There is no requirement to print this information on the label of compound feeds but, on request, this information is being made available to farmers. It's up to you to look for this information.
The target energy density of concentrate mixes should be 0.94+ UFV/kg as fed for finishing cattle or 0.94 UFL for milking cows over the winter.
It is important to specify the basis on which these nutrients are defined by your feed supplier, ie fresh weight or dry matter (DM) basis.