Measuring Feed Efficiency: Why And How On The Back Of A Napkin
Robert C. Fry, DVM, Atlantic Dairy Management Services
Feed efficiency can be used as an index of the production efficiency of converting dietary nutrients into milk.
Dry Matter Efficiency (DME) is calculated as the pounds of milk produced by the pounds of dry matter consumed.
Depending on the stage of lactation the DME for a herd will be between 1.30 and 1.70. If the DME is calculated for individual production groups within a herd, the values may range from 2.0 to 1.0 as a group of cows move along the lactation curve.
Additional accuracy can be gained in the DME calculation by adjusting the milk production to a standardized milk fat and protein percentage. This calculation is a more accurate determination of feeding efficiency and is referred to as Energy Corrected Dry Matter Efficiency(EC-DME).
Key points to remember when evaluating EC-DME are “higher is better,” early lactation will be higher than late lactation, diet formulation and feed additives will influence the ratio, and higher digestible forages will drive the ratio higher.
EC-DME has a direct and positive influence on IOFC within the parameters under management control.
LEARN MORE ABOUT BALCHEM ANIMAL NUTRITION AND HEALTH