At the feed fence

By Jack McDill

Management, Forage, Feeding, Education, Housing and caring

The importance of feed pushing

Feeding your dairy cows makes up around 33% of the overall production cost of your farm so it is important that you try to utilise every bit of feed you put in front of your cows. In this Blog we are going to explore the subject of feed presentation, looking into why it is so important, the factors that affect it, and  why regular feed pushing is vital to your dairy farm’s production performance. We will then focus more on the cow herself and explore the benefits she will experience. With a correct well balanced, properly mixed ration you are allowing your cows to perform to their potential, but what other factors around feed may be limiting her performance? Water is often considered one of the largest limiting nutritional factors affecting dairy farms, with a lactating dairy cow requiring between 60 & 100 litres of water per day, so ensuring adequate, clean and importantly accessible water supply is key for maximising dry matter intake, and effective rumination. Also feed presentation is important. The surface on which the ration is fed is an important factor when considering dry matter intake (DMI). In ensuring the surface is smooth to maximise DMI, an epoxy resin provides a smooth feed area whilst being acid resistant protecting the concrete below.  

Regular feed pushing  

The more frequently you can push up feed to your cows the better., Some of the key benefits include maximising DMI, essentially ensuring that if they can reach it easily, they will eat more.  Regular pushing of feed ensures that fresh, high-quality feed can be continuously available to the cows. This encourages higher feed intake, leading to better nutrition and improved milk production. By pushing feed regularly, farmers can prevent feed from being trampled, contaminated, or spoiled by weather conditions. This helps maintain feed freshness and quality, reducing waste and saving on feed costs. By minimizing feed waste and ensuring optimal feed utilization, regular feed pushing contributes to overall farm efficiency. This can lead to cost savings and improved profitability for dairy operations. 

Benefits of animal behaviour  

When feed is evenly distributed and accessible, it reduces competition among cows. This helps lower stress levels and aggressive behaviours', which can often occur when cows compete for limited feed resources. Regular feed pushing encourages cows to exhibit natural foraging behaviours. This can lead to a more enriched and satisfying environment, contributing to better mental stimulation and welfare.

Benefits of animal health  

With improved access to feed, cows are less likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Good nutrition supports their immune system, reducing the incidence of diseases and promoting overall herd health. Regular feed pushing can contribute to better cow comfort. Cows prefer eating fresh and easily accessible feed, and consistent feed pushing ensures they don’t have to reach too far or strain themselves to access their diet. When a cow has to reach excessively for her feed it moves her center of gravity forward putting pressure on her front feet, over time this repeated process can lead to lameness issues in the herd.  

How the Juno benefits farms   

With all the above in mind, the Lely Juno feed pusher takes on the job of pushing feed up around your farm. By installing and using a Lely Juno feed pusher, you’ll benefit from a significant labour saving. Based on three daily feed-pushing rounds of 10 minutes each, you can save up to 180 hours per year. You can now spend this valuable time on other activities on your farm, such as improving your feeding strategy or giving individual attention to those cows who need extra care. If you choose to automate your daily feed pushing, you can even increase feed pushing rounds to 6 - 8 times per day without  additional effort on your side, thus giving your cows constant access to feed.  By choosing a Lely Juno, the repetitive work of feed pushing becomes a thing of the past – labour-saving indeed. In addition, you will also save on fuel since you no longer need to use your tractor for daily feed pushing rounds.

If you’re ready to take your dairy farming to the next level, consider the Lely Juno as part of your feed management strategy.

Contact Lely today to learn more about how the Juno can customise to meet your farms unique needs or enter our Win a Juno Flex Package competition click here to below and learn more information.

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