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Purchasing Feed: Straights, blends or compounds?

09 October, 2019
For dairy cows, farmers have three main options when ordering in feed. These are:
  • Straights: Individual feed ingredients, which can be mixed on-farm to cut costs and handling fees.
  • Blends: Mixtures of ingredients of varying composition, more expensive than straights but easier to store and more consistent.
  • Compounds: Pelleted mixtures that offer all the benefits of a blend, while being easier to store and even more consistency during feeding.
  • Which is right for your farm? The answer naturally depends. The cost goes up with each option, escalating from straights, blends or compounds. Larger farms may choose to buy straights and mix their own rations for longer-term cost savings, but time and investment required for this might not be viable for smaller farms.
    Blends are likely to be the sensible mid-range option. It’s just one product, so easier to store and mix into the herd’s diet. While more expensive than straights, time and manual labour are saved over purchasing straights, and a consistent mineral and nutrient composition is more guaranteed than it is when mixing manually.
    Compounds are perhaps the ideal choice, although naturally this comes with a higher expense. Offering all the benefits of a blend, compounds contain all the minerals and nutrients within a single nut. This is easier to store and reduces the ability of cattle to selectively eat more palatable ingredients.
    Which is the right option for your farm? Depending on your budget and business scale, different options will be more or less worthwhile. Make a choice that delivers the best return on investment for your farm. Speak with an industry expert to discuss the best plan for you.

    How can you choose a feed supply that minimises risk and helps foster a robust herd?

    Download AF’s full free report here to learn more.
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