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Increasing your organic feed efficiency


At ForFarmers, our core range of dairy diets are underpinned by our Feed to Milk (F2M) philosophy.

In its simplest form, F2M is a measure of feed efficiency based on the weight of milk produced for each unit of feed dry matter consumed.

Afbeelding: F2M equation

F2M is the ultimate measure of a dairy herd’s technical performance, as it reflects the efficiency with which the cow converts the feed she consumes in to milk:

  • Forage
  • Moist feeds
  • Concentrates


Achieving even small increases in F2M can help offset milk price changes against rising costs.  While organic yields reached a record high in 2020/2021, at 6,847 litres/cow, feed efficiency remains the key to herd efficiency, whatever the size of herd or average yield.

For example, farms feeding 1,400kg of concentrate per cow, averaged anywhere between 4,557 and 7,126 litres in production per cow per year.  At an average of 37.57ppl (to March 2021), that represents a difference of £964 per cow in milk income for the same feed cost. 

Trends in milk production and efficiency

Source Kingshay Dairy Costings Focus 2021

Identifying inefficiencies

Over time working practices can inadvertently incorporate inefficiencies into a feeding system. This can lead to feed being used inappropriately and being wasted. Work through our practical checklist to find those ares where feed is commonly being wasted. These can be as straightforward as checking for mix consistency or prioritising spending on particular cohorts of cows.

Small changes can soon add up!

Improvement changes

Small changes in F2M can make significant improvements in herd margin.  This can be achieved by:

1. Increasing milk production
2. Reducing dry matter intake
3. Combination of the two factors

Here are some ideas to improve your system's efficiency:

Afbeelding: Improving feed efficiency diagram

A balancing act

Whatever the starting point, 0.74 or 1.51 kg milk/KG DM, the F2M system is about making improvements in herd feed efficiency, without compromising cow health or fertility. 

Every 0.1 improvement in F2M could be worth up to 55p per cow per day or 2ppl.

  Herd A Herd B
Milk (kg/day) 23 24
DMI (kg/day) 18 17.5
F2M 1.27 1.37
Milk Price (37.5p/kg) 8.62 9.00
Feed Cost (38p/kg DM) 6.84 6.65
Margin Over Total Feed 1.78 2.35
Extra Margin 100 cows/month - 1,710

Milk from forage

In addition to purchased feeds, forage remains an attractive option for gaining additional litres.  For the year ending March 2021, yields from forage were at their highest level since 2012, at 3,288 litres/cow, with 48% of all yield from forage – the second highest amount since 2005. 

Explore our organic range of root forage crops

For more information

For more information about increasing your herd's efficiency or for advice on our organic feed solutions please speak to your local ForFarmers account manager or contact one of our Organic Specialists today:


Contact an Organic Specialist