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IFEED Responsible Mineral Feeding

Updated: Oct 2, 2018

09 MARCH 2017

As a company, Dugdale Nutrition take the responsible feeding of minerals extremely seriously. Our role as advisors on your farm puts us in a perfect position to assess the mineral intake of your cows and to ensure the right balance throughout lactation. With this is mind, we are pleased to announce the launch of our ‘iFeed Responsible Minerals Calculator’. The calculator has been developed to give a complete mineral audit of your herd, to help us to achieve what we see as the 3 key aims of mineral feeding:

Our first aim with the calculator is to ensure that all of the cows’ requirements are being met. Using NRC (2001) guidelines, adjusted to suit our specific UK situation, we start by aiming to get all of the macro minerals and trace elements to within the target range. Our second aim is to make sure we are not breaking any legislation. It’s important to stay within Maximum Permitted Levels for the sake of both animal and human health. Significantly, ALL of the trace elements have upper legal limits that we must not exceed. These trace elements are:

Whilst the dangers of over feeding minerals can often result in severe symptoms, or even the death of some animals, at the very least it is money being wasted. The third aim of our mineral auditing service is to see if there are opportunities to save some money on mineral components that are being fed at unnecessarily high levels. In order to undertake an iFeed Responsible Minerals Audit, we need a few key pieces of information. The first step of this is to take forage samples for mineral analysis. Whilst maize and wholecrop silages rarely differ in their mineral make-up, grass silage can alter significantly from farm to farm, field to field and even cut to cut. These analyses take a bit longer than normal nutrition samples, up to 2 weeks in many cases.

The next piece of information we need, is the full breakdown of the ingredients that your cows are eating. This includes everything from the amounts of silage they’re eating, through to moist feeds, liquid feeds and concentrates and even the analysis of bore hole water. It’s absolutely crucial to know every part of the diet to make sure that every gram of mineral is accounted for. With that in mind, it is also vital at this point that we know of any other sources of mineral you may be feeding or administering.

There are minerals in everything that we feed to our cows, but special care should be taken to make us aware of any concentrated sources of mineral. These could include:

With all of this information we can then enter the details into the calculator to produce a report. To make the report easy to read and understand, it uses a traffic light system. We’ll talk you through the report to help point out those areas that need attention and where appropriate, we will happily give you some advice on ways to change the mineral feeding of your herd to improve the overall balance of the diet.

Adam Collantine

Tel. - 07880 008144

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