20 APRIL 2015
iFeed is Dugdale Nutrition’s new intelligent feeding and management system. Here, Adam Collantine, one of our dairy sales consultants, explains more...
WHAT EXACTLY IS IFEED?
“The iFeed intelligent feeding system incorporates all of the feeds, products and services offered by Dugdale Nutrition. The system works, by evaluating ‘Friction Points’ on the farm and reducing their impact on overall profitability. The system is fully integrated and takes into account the ‘cross pollination’ of problems across different areas of the business.”
WHAT ARE FRICTION POINTS?
“Friction Points in your farming business, are those areas that are preventing you from moving forward. Using a variety of evaluative and diagnostic techniques, Dugdale Nutrition will identify all of the relevant Friction Points from performance related areas within your business.”
HOW DOES IT WORK?
“Your Dugdale Nutrition Ruminant Specialist will visit your farm, with a member of the technical team. Between them, they will conduct a comprehensive initial assessment of your farm, its systems and its potential limitations. From this, your farms Friction Points will be identified, discussed and prioritised with you...
You can then agree some realistic targets in conjunction with us and we can start to put in place solutions to reduce the impact of your farm’s Friction Points. We then monitor the progress of those solutions against the agreed targets, whilst continuing to identify new Friction Points in a constantly rolling process of improvement.”
FRICTION POINTS EXPLAINED
1. FEEDING SYSTEMS
By identifying any of the ‘friction points’ within the feeding system, overall output and feed efficiency can be improved, often resulting in higher milk from forage. When we look into your feeding systems, we take into account the way in which you currently feed your cows, as well as any areas where feeding could be improved. This could include looking at alternative grazing systems; a change to feeding quantities down the barrier; or the inclusion of a different forage / forage replacer.
Improvements in overall fertility increase feed efficiency as you have more cows in the herd in early lactation, converting feed into milk more effectively. We look at all aspects of your dairy breeding policy, using your on farm records and where possible, Interherd+. We can then identify which aspect of fertility is the friction point. An example in this area would be not serving a high enough proportion of cows, by a certain number of days in milk.
Lameness plays a key role in all aspects of a dairy farms output and productivity. A cow that is lame, doesn’t walk to the feed fence or water trough as often; she also is much less likely to stand to be bulled. This gives a negative impact to milk production, milk quality, fertility and body condition score.
4. DRY COW MANAGEMENT
Dry cow management is where preparation for lactation begins. It is the opportunity to rest cows and prepare them to do it all again. Friction Points in dry cow management are integrated with many other areas, including environment, health and fertility. Friction Points in this area might include a high incidence of milk fever, too many assisted calvings, inadequate colostrum quantity/quality, or cows getting mastitis in the dry period.
High health status is clearly one of the most crucial aspects on any dairy farm. Unhealthy cows are less productive and significantly less profitable; they convert feed less efficiently and cost more to maintain. Identifying Friction Points associated to health is sometimes best done in conjunction with your vet, but using your on farm records and statistical analysis, we can help to identify some key areas with health issues. For instance, analysis of your milk records may show a problem with a certain group of animals where a health problem could be holding them back.
6. BUILDING DESIGN & ENVIRONMENT
Making changes to the cows environment and comfort can give significant improvements in dry matter intakes and bulling activity, and can also start to reduce the incidence of mastitis and lameness. Building design and environment is a huge topic, but iFeed successfully breaks this down into its component parts; looking at the areas that will have the most significant benefits first. Within this area, Friction Points might include slippery concrete stopping cows bulling, less than ideal ventilation or a feed barrier that inhibits intakes.
7. HEIFER REARING
Heifer rearing is again heavily integrated with other areas of iFeed. In the early weeks, iFeed aims to identify Friction Points associated with colostrum feeding and transition to milk replacer or whole milk, this period may also include looking at pneumonia or other calf diseases. As calves get older, consideration turns to weaning techniques and the environment they are housed in. An example of a Friction Point with heifer rearing could be animals having a check in growth after weaning, or animals not being big enough to bull at the age when you would like them to be.