Feed Adviser
Number of Registered Feed Advisers 1096 14 October 2019

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  3. Module 1 – Fundamentals of Whole Farm Feed Planning for Ruminants

Module 1 – Fundamentals of Whole Farm Feed Planning for Ruminants

1.1 Aim

To understand how to optimise the supply of nutrients, from home produced and purchased feeds, to achieve the desired, production, efficiency and economic returns, while minimising the impact on the environment.

1.2 Competence

Candidates must be able to make an assessment of the livestock’s genetic potential and health status, buildings and facilities and overall management in the context of expected levels of production. They must also have a basic understanding of ruminant, production, nutrition and feeding systems, and an awareness of opportunities where nutrient inefficiencies and excesses can be minimised thereby reducing negative impacts on the environment.

1.3 Essential knowledge and skills

Candidates must be able to:

  • Identify the origins of environmental emissions associated with feeding (e.g. rumen methane production, nitrous oxide and ammonia from manures and subsequent losses of nitrate) and how by improving feed efficiency and feeding management and production strategies these can be reduced often with a parallel improvement in financial performance.
  • Determine the nutrients that can be supplied from home produced feed and forage.

    Identify the number of animals that are intended to be fed home produced feed and forage.

    Determine the energy, protein and key micronutrient (copper and selenium (background levels and added)) requirements of the animals for a defined level of performance, determine the nutrient contribution from feeds and forages grown on-farm then recommend bought-in feeds/rations to balance overall requirements.

    Appreciate factors influencing the nutritive value and utilisation of feed sources e.g. optimal grass grazing, forage harvesting and ensiling techniques, dry, liquid and moist feed storage. 

  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of factors affecting feeding management e.g. feeding systems. 
  • Have an awareness of tools that can improve feed utilisation such as farm feed processing, optimal mixer operation, yeasts, rumen buffers and mycotoxins negating products.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the nutritional information provided on a feed label to ensure, where possible, adequate nutrient supply and avoid excesses. 
  • Work with the farmer to monitor production performance data. 

    Understand key performance indicators, recognise symptoms of poor performance and help the farmer to identify the cause(s) using objective criteria such as intake, rumen function measures, faecal observations, plus yield or liveweight gain.

    Understand how performance may be modified by alternative feeding strategies or where these can be obtained.

  • Be aware of specific customer requirements and key relevant processor (retailer) requirements or government policy pressures on livestock farmers i.e. GHG Action Plan and Nitrate Vulnerable Zones.

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