Improved diet formulation and feeding systems for dairy cows

Aims & Objectives
To deliver improved diet formulation and feeding systems for dairy cows by:

  • Improving feed conversion efficiency and reducing losses of nutrients to the environment by integrating measures of feed conversion efficiency, environmental impact, fertility and animal health into a least-cost diet formulation model.
  • Improving the nutrition and health of transition cows by developing, testing and refining feeding systems using existing research databases, on-farm data, on-going research, literature and focused experiments.
  • To produce a suite of spreadsheets, tables and advisory leaflets, covering aspects of diet formulation, for different stages of lactation across a range of dairy systems.

Expected Outcomes

  • New information to update DairyCo technical literature - Feeding+, Grass+ and Pd+.
  • Advisory leaflets covering aspects of diet formulation for different stages of lactation across a range of dairy systems.
  • Models, equations and spreadsheets that illustrate clear principles, for use by nutritionists, advisers, vets, farmers to evaluate individual farm scenarios.

Start Date     
June 2011               

Completion Date
May 2016

Lead Contractor
University of Nottingham - Research Partnership study 

Other Delivery Partners
University of Reading, Harper Adams University, SRUC, Royal Veterinary College, Aberystwyth University

AHDB Dairy

Scientific literature
Garnsworthy, P.C. and Wilkinson, J.M. 2012. Ration formulation for dairy cows:  least cost versus least environmental impact. In Recent Advances in Animal Nutrition - 2012, pp 95-113. Edited by P.C. Garnsworthy and J. Wiseman. Nottingham University Press, Nottingham.

Wilkinson, J.M. and Garnsworthy, P.C. 2013. Rationing dairy cows to minimise environmental impact. Proceedings Society of Feed Technologists Ruminant Conference, 18 April 2013, Coventry.

For further information please contact: or call 024 7647 8632