Whole Farm Feed Efficiency (WFFE)

Rationale and aims

Feed conversion efficiency (FCE) is the ratio of milk output to feed input, usually expressed as milk volume or solids yield per unit of dry matter intake (DMI). Feed conversion efficiency is usually considered only for the milking cows in a herd but there is a compelling case for considering FCE at the whole-farm level: efficiency gains in milking cows might in fact be offset by inefficiencies in other areas that influence overall FCE and profit. Whole-farm FCE (WFFE) is defined as total milk output divided by total feed produced or purchased for all animals on the dairy farm.

To help producers make decisions regarding their feeding strategies and the effects of modifications, there is a need for key performance indicators (KPIs) and drivers of WFFE appropriate to different production systems.

The main aim of the project is to quantify components of feed efficiency at the whole-herd level under a range of production and feeding systems and translate these into practical tools for use on farms.


Expected outcomes

  • KPIs and drivers of whole-herd feed efficiency appropriate for UK conditions
  •  Farmer-friendly guidelines and a tool on how to calculate and improve whole farm feed efficiency


Start Date             
June 2016

Completion Date

Lead Investigator
University of Nottingham


AHDB Dairy

For further information please contact: martina.dorigo@ahdb.org.uk or call 024 7647 8632


*This project is part of the Research Partnership between AHDB Dairy and the University of Nottingham (Lead Contractor). Other subcontracted investigators and delivery partners within the Research Partnership are: Harper Adams University, SRUC, RVC.