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Comparative feed values
Published 1 February 10
Because cattle feeds come in a wide range of moisture contents and require very different production, handling and storage inputs, it is notoriously difficult to compare their value on a like-for-like basis.
This chapter will look at:
A new approach to assessing feeds has been developed to take account of the differences in dry matter and the wide range of establishment, variable and contractor costs associated with forage, as well as any feeding and storage costs. These variables can be accounted for by basing comparisons on the amount of feed dry matter actually consumed by the cows - Utilised DM.
Because they do not account for the differences in individual energy and protein contents of different feeds, Utilised DM costings are most valuable for comparing similar types of feed ingredients. They are particularly useful for establishing the relative costs of different forages on the one hand and purchased feeds on the other.
Although it does not take into account losses in storage or wastage, an alternative way of comparing different feeds involves an assessment of their value on the basis of the ME and CP they supply in relation to other available energy and protein feeds. Once the relative value of the feed has been calculated it is advisable to deduct an element for wastage (around 10% in the case of 'brewers' grains) to establish what it might be worth paying for the feed in question.