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Save feed costs

Get the most feed-efficient dairy herd based on artificial intelligence.

How to use feed more efficiently

Feed has an enormous impact not only on your bottom line... but also on the environment and animal welfare.

Studies show that up to 88% of the variable costs on a dairy farm relates to feed costs. The decision to invest in genetics that you make today will have an impact on your business in the years to come.

Saved feed index based on reliable data

The Saved Feed Index in the Nordic Total Merit index (NTM) shows you how efficient a cow is in turning feed into milk.

Some cows are extra good at turning feed into meat and milk. Others use too much feed for maintenance and are less efficient when it comes to utilising the feed.

Feed efficiency consists of two components in the Saved feed index.

Maintenance measures how much energy a cow uses due to her body size. It is well known that heavier cows use more energy than less heavy cows at the same production level.

Metabolic efficiency measures how efficient the cow is in converting feed energy in her body. This is energy used, for instance, to support milk production.

VikingGenetics presents CFIT technology

Analyses of the data collected on cows’ weight, feed intake and milk production help identify which cows have the most efficient energy intake.

Watch the video and see how the data for individual cow’s feed intake are collected for Holstein, Jersey, and Red Dairy Cattle.

Real-life data for individual cow’s feed intake

The Saved Feed Index is based on data from the Cattle Feed Intake System (CFIT), a state-of-the-art system where 3D cameras monitor and measure the feed intake in the cow's natural environment.

We collect data throughout lactation on cows from commercial herds – without disturbing the daily routines and cows’ natural behaviour. We focus on collecting the data for individual cow’s feed intake over her lifetime that are comparable across the breeds and herds.

How does CFIT work?

CFIT uses the 3D cameras and artificial intelligence to identify the cows, estimate their weight and quantify how much they eat.

Each cow is identified from pictures of its back, using deep learning with artificial intelligence. The cameras record the cow's distinct pattern of colours and body shape.

To quantify the amount of feed that each cow consumes during a day, the cameras take pictures of the surface of the feed. One picture before the cow goes to the feeding table to eat, and one picture after she leaves.

By subtracting the two images, we can quantify the amount of feed that the cow consumes at every meal 24/7 year around.

Improve efficiency, health and production in your herd

More milk and meat with less cost 
While you are working to achieve the best milk or meat yields through efficient farm management and a well-planned breeding strategy, we are working to develop a reliable tool to breed the next generation of high-yielding, trouble-free and efficient cows.

With a consistent focus on breeding, you can achieve genetic progress for production, health and feed efficiency and improve your bottom line.

More environmentally friendly cows
On average, 6% of a cow's energy is spent on producing methane rather than milk. However, this varies from 2-12% depending on how efficient the cow is in converting feed into milk. So there’s a lot to gain… also when it comes to carbon footprint and sustainability.

Saved feed index based on reliable data
A Saved Feed Index is an important tool that helps you in making everyday decisions easier and more efficiently. To ensure your cows are resilient, productive and climate friendly, it is equally necessary that you have similar data on their feed intake.

Find the bulls that will bring you the best performing and most climate-friendly cows.

Bull search

Science and research boost your profits

As one of the first movers, we are exploring the missing link in the feed efficiency equation – the individual cow feed intake. The Saved Feed Index is the result of extended research and collaboration between the Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE), the Nordic Cattle Genetic Evaluation (NAV) and the University of Aarhus in Denmark and VikingGenetics, as well as other international partners. The research activities for developing a genetic evaluation for feed efficiency were already initiated in 2013.

Sustainable genetics for the future

We have always put health and reproduction in a balanced focus with production traits. Our latest challenge is to lead the dairy industry in finding solutions to make dairy farming more sustainable and efficient.
Data show that there is negative genetic correlation between health and frame.

We have focused on limiting the genetic progress for frames in order to breed medium-sized cows that are healthy, high-producing and efficient, and therefore deliver the highest possible profit.

Reduce feed costs in your herd

It is a fact that heavy cows eat more to maintain themselves than lighter cows. This also means that, from a feed efficiency point of view, lighter cows use less feed for maintenance.

For Saved feed index, daughters of two bulls having a difference of 20 index units will have a difference in dry matter intake (DMI) of 70-100 kg per lactation.

holstein dairy cow

Read what

our customers say

Long-term improvement

The genetic improvement that you achieve is a permanent and desired improvement accumulated through generations and will increase your profit margins.

While optimal management and improving the environment are important short-term solutions for optimizing feeding in your herd, genetics is a crucial long-term solution.

To achieve success, you need to focus on both genetics and management.

Download our brochure about feed efficiency

Guide to feed efficiency

Here you will find more detailed information on how you can optimize your herd, covering:
  • Breeding as a tool to improve feed efficiency
  • 5 management tips for optimizing feeding routines
The unique CFIT system continues our strategy to make direct measures on the trait that needs to be improved. Our goal is to develop a Saved Feed Index that dairy farmers around the world can trust. That is why we have been working in close collaboration with our partners to develop a more affordable technology to identify which cows have the most efficient energy intake.

Jan Lassen,
MSc., PhD, and Senior Research Manager at VikingGenetics

Want to know more?
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