Hidden Sources of Feed Shrink
Dairy Herd’s article “Hidden Sources of Feed Shrink” details a number of causes that may be leading to losses in feed used, ration formulation and poor performance. While spoilage, birds, rodents and weather will always play a part, these causes listed below are often preventable.
- Poor sampling technique – Pedro Melendez, a veterinarian and dairy specialist with the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia, explains that using just one feed sample from a corn silage bunker can lead to a false assessment to what quality of the feed being stored as starch levels in a feed pile of corn silage can vary. To avoid the error, Melendez says, it is best to take ten samples from the pile, mix and homogenize these samples, and then test a composite sample to get an estimate of the true average of the feed.
- Frequency of sampling – Since the feed in the pile also varies from front to back, as different areas of fields and different fields are harvested, Melendez says at least monthly nutritional analysis of hay and silage should be conducted.
- Scale Maintenance – “The precision of the scales both at the arrival of the trucks, and at the time of the preparation of the diets, are important,” says Melendez. “Adequate maintenance of truck scales and mixers must be made to avoid unnecessary losses.” Even minor errors in scales can lead to large under- or over-feeding losses over time.
JP Bowlin offers a variety of scales and weighing equipment as well as a number of service and calibration options to fit with your needs. Contact us to see what we can do for you.
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