Feed budgeting takes out the guesswork
Article printed February 4, 2023. For the latest version, please go to: https://feedinglivestock.vic.gov.au/2022/03/22/feed-budgeting-takes-out-the-guesswork/
Feed budgeting is an important tool to help determine potential pasture deficits or surpluses and assist in matching feed supply and demand.
Feed budgeting allows for better and more timely decisions, such as determining the number of stock you can carry, and for how long, and the likely animal performance for different classes of stock.
They can be prepared a day, a week or several months ahead and separate budgets can be prepared for different mobs or areas of the farm and can help support grazing decisions to alleviate the potential for environmental damage, such as the risk of erosion or plugging.
To construct a feed budget you need to know;
- Livestock feed / energy requirements: the amount of supplement and or pasture in kilograms of dry matter (kg DM) or megajoules of metabolisable energy (MJ ME) that the particular classes of stock need, each day, to meet your production targets. This information allows the feed budget to be interpreted (is there a feed deficit or surplus?) and appropriate action to be taken.
- Pasture Quantity: the mass of pasture available to your livestock, measured in kg DM/ha
- Pasture Quality: the feed value of your pasture, measured in digestibility (%) and related to megajoules of metabolisable energy per kilogram of dry matter (ME/kg DM). Protein (%) content of pasture is also another important quality parameter
- Pasture Growth rate: the rate at which the pasture is likely to be growing over the budgeted time period.
The following tools and resources can help develop feed budgets for any class of stock and production status particularly if you have experienced severe weather such as floods or fires that damage your pastures.
Feed values (energy, protein and fibre) of some common supplements and the feed requirements of a range of livestock classes can be found in ‘Useful tables’ under the ‘Sheep resources’ and ‘Beef resources’ tabs on the https://www.feedinglivestock.vic.gov.au/ website.
Online tools for making rations;
- Tools for making rations – are used to develop rations for any class of stock
- Buying feed – need to know – is used to understand feed test analysis
- Pasture assessment – used to estimate pasture feed on offer (FOO)
Feed budgeting at a glance
|To construct a feed budget you need to know:||The following tools and resources can help develop feed budgets for any class of stock and production status|
|Livestock feed/energy requirement:||Feed requirements of a range of livestock classes can be found in ‘Useful tables’|
|Amount of supplement or pasture or energy (MJ ME) that the particular class of stock actually need, each day, to meet the production target.||Feed values (energy, protein and fibre) of some common supplements can be found as ‘Useful tables’|
Tools for making rations – used to help develop rations for any class of stock
|Understand the feed test||Buying feed – need to know – used to assist farmers understand feed test analysis|
|Pasture Quantity: the mass of pasture available to your livestock|
Pasture Quality: the feed value of your pasture,
Pasture Growth rate: the rate at which the pasture is likely to be growing
|Pasture assessment – used to assist farmers estimate pasture feed on offer|