Maximising Concentrate Efficiency This Winter
24th October 2019

As winter feeding commences Fane Valley Feeds’ Technical Support Manager Matthew Armstrong outlines some practises farmers should employ to maximise milk from Forage during the coming months.

With the majority of cows housed in recent weeks due to adverse weather conditions, many farmers across Northern Ireland are keen to utilise silage effectively within their milk production systems this winter. 

Matthew outlines, “It is vitally important to get a representative sample from the pit face, and balance the diet accordingly with a feeding strategy which will fully utilise forage and concentrate feeding to maximise milk production and profit of the dairy farm”.

See below the average results for first and second cut silages in Northern Ireland.


Silage results throughout the country have been variable to date, but it is crucial farmers make the most of their silages potential.  Doing the simple things right will increase forage intakes and therefore increase productivity and reduce concentrate cost per litre.

Key Factors for Silage Management:

  • Clean out bunkers regularly. 
  • Feed fresh feed – twice daily feeding and push up frequently.
  • Ensure adequate feed space – all cows should be able to feed together.
  • Silo face – keep tight and tidy to avoid spoilage.
  • Access to clean water. (4 litres of water required per litre of milk)

Matthew continues, “from an energy perspective it is important to work out silage intakes and what milk yield the silage is realistically able to support depending on silage quality and management. Therefore it is vital to get the overall feeding strategy correct to maximise milk production per cow and ultimately farm profitability”.

Target Feeding is vital to ensure cows are fed appropriately to improve efficiency.  This can be achieved if computerised feeding is available through Out of Parlour Feeders, In Parlour Feed to Yield or Robotic Feeding Systems. 

Matthew adds, “If these computerised systems are not available on farm, another option is a simple tail tape system which ensures cows are fed appropriately, helping to increase feed efficiency”.

Grouping Cows can also be an option to increase blend allocation to the higher yielders which can also be more cost effective, and avoids over feeding stale cows.  This also helps ensure cows don’t receive large quantities of concentrate feed when milking, which tends to lower the rumen pH, creating an acidic rumen environment which reduces rumination and therefore the efficiency of feed degradation.

Matthew concludes, “Choosing the correct feeding strategy to balance your silage is of the upmost importance. Fane Valley Feeds have a complete range of compound feeds and blends available to get the most from all forages this winter to ensure health, productivity and profitability are at the forefront of your business”.

For more information on the Fane Valley Feeds product range and assistance with getting your feeding strategy correct this winter, please contact your local Fane Valley Feeds Sales Specialist or call 028 8224 3221.