An investigation of the effects of introducing an alternative cattle feeding method on a dairy farm

Hargreaves, George, Eckersley, Adam, Boyle, Philip and Butters, Lancelot (2023) An investigation of the effects of introducing an alternative cattle feeding method on a dairy farm. Scientific Papers. Series A. Agronomy, LXVI (1). pp. 709-718. ISSN 2285-5785

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With the cost of farm labour in the UK remaining stable through 2020 and the cost of milk rising Reeve (2021) (AHDB, 2022), there is an increasing incentive to capitalise on these unique circumstances. Dairy farms have recognised for years, the vitality of providing the correct sustenance to cattle. It is recognised that correct levels of feed supplied to the cattle has an impact on milk yield. Another factor to consider, when it comes to feed, is the quality of the mix that is produced from a diet feeder. With diesel prices continuing rise, a more fuel efficient alternative to traditional feeding is being sought, without sacrificing quality. This report investigates the financial effects recorded when implementing a self-propelled diet feeder into a 146 cow dairy farm in Lancashire. Using primary research, gathered from a series of tests, carried out between a self-propelled diet feeder and the conventional trailed machine. The results showed the benefits of the self-propelled machine outweighed the negative aspects. Due to the study only being carried out on a single farm the data cannot represent other farms. However, on this farm, the increased value of milk yield exceeded the additional cost of diesel fuel used and time taken by the self-propelled unit. As a conclusion an increased daily income of £61.10, when using the self-propelled, it would take a projected nine years to pay off the machine with current labour, diesel and milk prices.

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