Complete Feed Solutions is an Auckland based company providing technical services to the agriculture sector throughout New Zealand and abroad. We spoke with the company’s director, Natalie Chrystal who specialises in animal nutrition. Their clientele ranges from dairy farmers to animal feed manufacturers, who all have a common goal to increase their business productivity and maximise profit.
Working with an experienced consultant such as Natalie, can help you to optimise your sheep or goat business. These consultations can take place as often as required i.e. quarterly or annually, as milk prices, feed costs, debt levels and interest rates are forever changing. Natalie’s approach is to simplify what the farmer is trying to achieve and designing a feeding programme to fit the farmers specific requirements.
When designing a feeding programme, Natalie will take into consideration mature body weights, current diet, current and target production, management objectives and genetic potential. Selecting animals that have quality genetic framework, provides a higher genetic potential for production which can be achieved with good nutrition and management. Simply choosing ‘top quality feed’ will not provide optimum production levels alone, if, for example, the animals do not have the genetic potential for production.
Consideration of the contract pay-out and the final product is important; are you targeting fats or proteins opposed to volume? Because these targets will have very different feeding strategies.
“The options for feeds are endless, there is no such thing as a good feed and bad feed. There is the right feed for the current situation.” – Natalie Chrystal
Low cost feeds do not always produce maximum profit, it comes down to a cost-benefit discussion which needs to be recalculated every year. It is important for farmers to shift their focus from price per kilogram of feed and begin to look at the returns of individual feeds and different feed combinations. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when feeding stock.
“What makes you money in good times, will save you money in bad times. If you believe something is worth doing in the good times, e.g. feeding slightly better, you should seriously consider doing this even in bad times.” – Natalie Chrystal
This is especially relevant to the first 100 days of lactation. Underfeeding does or ewes in early lactation can be expensive, due to a loss in production which can continue throughout the entire season and the costs involved in rebuilding body reserves.
Indoor feeding systems are becoming increasingly popular within the New Zealand goat industry, with many farmers turning to indoor systems to solve the burden of internal parasites. Although this system has many advantages, there are still other factors that need to be considered including the potential risks when feeding grains. With good management and support from a qualified nutritionist, farmers can make profit-based decisions that allow them to have better control over their animals’ diets, using a wider variety of feeds with less wastage.
It is also important to avoid chasing production at any cost, the focus needs to be maximising the farms overall profit. For further advice on how to achieve this, you can contact Natalie below.