Feeding arrangements

There are a number of feeding systems, although they often merge into a mix of the various categories:

  • Self-feed
  • Easy-feed
  • Total mixed ration (TMR)

On any one farm, the way in which the feed is made available to the animals will also often be based on a variety of methods:

  • Feed trough - usually at or within a building
  • Ring feeders - within a loafing area, a straw bedded area or field
  • Feed lots - often a feed trough in a large loafing area, usually of sand or earth and only suitable for low rainfall areas
  • Stand-off pads - similar to feed lots but are constructed using geotextile membranes over which stone, sand and finally a 100 - 150mm layer of woodchip is provided. Cows can have access from grazing. Good drainage and dirty water collection facilities are likely to be essential.

 There are numerous designs of feed system available, the four main feed systems are listed below:

  • Drive through central feed passage
  • Central feed trough
  • Perimeter feeding
  • Open feed yard with troughs

 

Feed face requirements

The amount of feed face per animal will depend on the weight of the animal and the competition for food.

The Red Tractor Scheme stipulates the feed face required per cow for simultaneous and ad-lib feeding.

Cow weight

(kg)

Simultaneous feeding

(m)

Ad-lib feeding

(m)

350

0.55

0.15

400

0.55

0.17

450

0.55

0.19

500

0.55

0.22

550

0.55

0.24

600

0.60

0.26

650

0.65

0.28

700

0.70

0.30

750

0.75

0.32