Some important tips related to feed quality, feed storage, and feed loss management include:
- Analyze incoming ingredients and use selected suppliers that have quality control programs.
- Always monitor ingredients moisture.
- Use either a Koster Tester, a microwave oven, or a forced-air oven to check ration and ingredients moisture.
- Keep daily or weekly inventory reports.
- Check incoming ingredients moisture, color, odor, and texture.
- Watch for the presence of foreign material, heat damage, mold, and spoilage.
- Establish rejection criteria for incoming ingredients to ensure the best ration possible.
- Keep written quality control targets.
- Always handle feeds in a way that ensures that contamination does not occur.
- Frequently sample both ingredients and the total mixed ration.
- The ration should be consistently mixed.
- Check if the feed analysis matches the ration formulation.
- The mixer scale should be checked periodically for accuracy.
- Bunker forages should be tightly packed to minimize spoilage.
- Recognize that coproducts (e.g., distillers grain) will vary in nutrient content. A regular testing program should be established for coproducts used.
- Water must be kept clean.
- Reduce bunk shoveling with good bunk management.
- Estimate and account for feed waste.
- Watch the bunks to minimize feed wastage resulting from sorting or climatic factors (e.g., rain, snow).
- In times of high feed costs, reducing feed waste does make a difference.
For more information see: Improving Feedlot Profitability by Beth Doran and Dan Loy, Iowa Beef Center.
- November 2008