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NorFor is more relevant than ever

The situation on the global milk market is dramatic. With such low milk prices it´s more urgent than ever to optimize the feed rations make the best of the situation on the dairy farms. 

"It has never been more important to make economically optimized feed rations for dairy cows", says Patrik Nordgren, manager at NorFor. 

NorFor is the unique Nordic Feed Evaluation System, strictly based on the latest research on cattle and how they utilize the content of the feed totally independent of the feed industry. The system pick apart everything there is to know feed and the cow and put it together again to create the cheapest possible feed ratio to satisfy the cows needs at the level of production you as a manager are aiming at. 

"When the prices of feed stuff and milk is as volatile as it has been in recent years, it´s very important to be able to adjust the feeding with a minimized risk of setbacks in the production", says Patrik Nordgren. 

He is convinced that it is possible to reduce the feed cost by 5 to 20 per cent in average in European dairy farms, with the NorFor system. 

NorFor is now available outside the Nordic countries and has been tested in Canada and Poland and is used in commercial herds in Slovakia and Slovenia. On more than 9 000 dairy farms in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland the NorFor system has been used on a daily basis for almost 10 years now.

NorFor creates better results on a Slovenian dairy farm

Higher yield, cheaper feed ratio, or both? That is what you will achieve if you use NorFor to calculate feed ratios on dairy farms.

Jens Ole Christiansen, a dairy farm consultant with customers in a number of European countries, introduced NorFor in November 2015 at the GO-KO dairy farm, which consists of 800 Holstein dairy cows located in the southern part of Slovenia. Since then, GO-KO has been able to increase the intake of silage and reduce the use of concentrates and grain in the feed ration.

“It helps that we have good quality corn silage to start with, but NorFor definitely plays a part in this. It has allowed us to take full advantage of the fine quality in the silage”, says Jens Ole Christiansen. “GO-KO has, during the last 2 years, increased the digestibility and the yield of produced grass and corn silage. The average in digestibility in grass is 1,15 kg DM/Fen and with 16,5 % protein. The average digestibility in corn silage is 1,16 kg DM/Fen. When it´s possible to make enough silage of this quality, then you can obtain a higher efficiency from the forage, by using NorFor to calculate the feed rations” continued Jens Ole Christiansen.

The milk yield has increased from 25,8 (NorFor Feeding control 04-11-2015) to 31,1 kilo ECM per cow per day (NorFor Feeding control 14-02-2016) within a short period of time. The feed ratio during the same period contained more silage and together with the higher milk yield, the profit/cow (milk income minus feed costs) increased by 0,83 €/cow/day.

 Jens Ole Christiansen, owner of Bovi Consult s.r.o., is an independent senior adviser who works with twenty farms in Denmark, three in Slovenia and one in Slovakia. His Danish customers, who have been using NorFor for one year already, have on average 280 cows and the average milk yield on all twenty farms is 36,2 kilo ECM per cow per day

 “I think one of the clearest advantages by using NorFor is, that you develop a better performance of the feed and the feedstuff. It is very easy to determine that the feed ratio will provide the expected outcome. Since this is an easy thing to do with NorFor it is actually being done on the farm.”

Jens Ole Christiansen says that in Denmark, Sweden and Norway the silage makes up around 60 % of the dry matter content in the total feed ration. In other countries and regions it is typically around 45 % dry matter. The difference is partially due to the fact that NorFor has been in practise by nutritionists in the Nordic countries for several years now. It is clear that there is a potential for dairy farmers in other countries to gain the same benefits.

“Oh, yes, NorFor has been very applicable also in Slovenia and Slovakia, where I work”, says Jens Ole Christiansen. He is located in Slovakia and represents NorFor in Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Czech Republic.

Improved feed rations on fattening bulls and heifers

Fattening bulls need more concentrate and less forage than previously shown in research. This new knowledge was implemented in NorFor during 2015. The most recent experiments were performed in Sweden and compiled with pre-existing research data on fattening bulls and included in NorFor in January 2015.

The calculated intake capacity of forage was reduced in the new version of NorFor leading to feed rations with more concentrate and less forage for fattening bulls heavier than 200 kilograms.

“The close collaboration between NorFor, universities in the Nordic countries and the advisory service ensures that new scientific findings is rapidly integrated into the everyday feeding on the farms”, says Nicolaj Ingemann Nielsen, who is responsible for research and development at NorFor.

One of the next things to be improved is the feed intake system for heifers. Research on heifers has been done in Denmark and Norway during the last couple of years. Most likely NorFor will be updated based on the results of these experiments during the spring of 2016.

“When this modification is completed we will have different feed intake models for heifers of dairy and beef breeds. The new version is currently being tested by users in Denmark, Sweden and Norway”, says Nicolaj Ingemann Nielsen, who hopes to be able to release the updated NorFor version in March 2016.                                                                                                 February 2016

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