Feed budgeting vital this summer

16 Nov, 2018 04:00 PM
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Dairy Feed Tools can help farmers balance rations
There are a number of options for farmers looking for assistance when it came to feed budgeting.
Dairy Feed Tools can help farmers balance rations

With fodder and grain prices high, it becomes even more important to know how much feed is needed in the coming months to meet milk production requirements.

Murray Dairy regional extension officer Lisa Birrell said there were a number of options for farmers looking for assistance when it came to feed budgeting, including Dairy Australia's Back of the Envelope Feed Budget factsheet and Dairy Feed Tools.

"The back of the envelope feed budget from Dairy Australia is a quick way to look at how many cows you've got, how many young stock you've got and how much feed you will need," she said.

"Included in that is a water budget to find out how much water will be used to grow summer crops or pastures for grazing or for conserving, and then, come autumn, what water is left and what water will need to be purchased for autumn start-up."

Ms Birrell said the simplified budget also allowed farmers to assess how many tonnes of grain they would look to feed this year and also work out the forage or fibre required from the hay market.

Alternatively, Dairy Australia has an Excel-based feed-budgeting tool and Dairy Feed Tools for farmers who wanted to work out what the feed budget would mean in terms of cashflow and on a month-by-month basis.

"With the Excel spreadsheet you can break it into a season whether it's spring, summer, autumn or winter and you can build it with number of cows, number of young stock and how many litres you think these cows will be producing," Ms Birrell said.

"You can add in how much green feed you think you'll have, how much grain you think you'll feed and you can build it month by month. You can work out whether you've got a surplus or whether you've got a deficit."

Ms Birrell said the Dairy Feed Tools could also help farmers balance rations.

"Dairy Feed Tools can show not just how many tonnes you need but what is actually going to be a balanced ration to hit the production targets that you are aiming for," she said.D

For more information on feed budgeting go to dairyaustralia.com.au/feedshortage. The Back of the Envelope Feed Budgeting factsheet, the Excel-based feed budgeting tool and Dairy Feed Tools can be found there and freely downloaded.

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