The right feed can do so much more than just sustain a high production yield. With a good understanding of animal's nutrient requirements and health, Dutch companies can produce feeds of good quality to sustain the balance between the intensive milk production and the stability of the cow’s metabolism and welfare.
Feed management is important, since feed costs account for 70% of all costs in farms. The feeding regime influences mainly the quantity and quality of milk, the welfare and the health of the cattle. The Dutch feed companies and knowledge institutes are experts in optimizing feed for cows. Therefore they have developed an excellent understanding of the animals, their interaction with the environment and the end-product. Dutch companies have developed and produced nutritional products that are specifically adapted to the lifecycle stage of each breed taking into account the particular farm situation, the husbandry objectives and the animal’s requirements. The most important feeds for dairy cows are like silage, hay, straw and concentrates, based on cereals or other high-energy or protein ingredients. Forage and concentrate are combined to form the perfect diet mixture for dairy cows; high performing cows are individually complemented. Small amounts of additives are included either in the mixture or the concentrates.
The feed additives, like minerals, are feed ingredients required to:
- Reduce the use of antibiotics, which strengthen the health resistance;
- Improve the fertility and the function of rumen;
- Reduce the risk of ketosis and limit the fatty liver.
The use of additives will lead to improved animal welfare and health, and lower the veterinary costs for the farmer. Giving additives to the dairy cows improves production efficiency: higher milk production and higher protein content in the milk. In addition, the additives improve the cow’s digestion which has a positive impact on the environment because the amount of heavy metals minerals is reduced in the manure.