Sustainability through reduced emissions, improved feed conversion and reduced feed costs is at the core of Geno’s breeding programme for the Norwegian Red breed. To work systematically on these traits, it has been important for Geno to have detailed knowledge of each cow’s daily feed intake and eating behaviour. Through their new feed efficiency project, this is solved by detailed monitoring of 14 Norwegian Red herds equipped with the CRFI system from BioControl.
“The CRFI system from BioControl makes it possible for us to calculate the breeding values for feed efficiency and other sustainability-related traits very precisely”, states project leader Eli Hveem Krogsti in Geno.
This goes hand in hand with reducing resources needed for milk and beef production, and reduced feed costs for the farmers – all important for a triple bottom line, both for environmental, economic and social sustainability.
“In these herds, we have fitted CRFI-mangers along the entire feeding space. The cows have free access to roughage, and the participating herds must basically run a similar feed regime as they have done in the past. Feed samples are collected weekly and analysed for nutrient contents.”
Photo: Eli Hveem Krogsti, Geno
The CRFI feed mangers are connected to antennas that read the cows’ electronic ear tag. When an ear tag is registered, an air-operated gate lowers and gives the cow access to the feed in the manger. The difference in weight between feed in the manger before and after the visit forms the basis for recorded feed intake per visit. A log is generated and first sent to a farm computer. Data is then sent to Geno via BioControl’s cloud solution.
“In addition to an exact measurement of the cow’s feed intake every day, we also get useful information about the animal’s eating behaviour – how often they visit the feed mangers and how much they eat per visit”, says Krogsti.
Photo: Eva Husaas, Geno
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