In-shed feeding systems

A recent market research survey showed that 28% of New Zealand dairy farmers in Canterbury and the North Island have an in-shed feeding system. The key benefits and limitations of in-shed feeding systems are shown in Table 9.

Table 9: Benefits and limitations of in-shed feeding systems
Benefits Limitations
High utilisation with energy dense feeds. Milk returns can be variable depending on the payout and
the milksolids response.
More accurate dispersion of minerals to every cow. At times it can be hard to source some concentrate feeds.
(e.g. during a drought).
With new meal feeding technology individual cows can be allocated feed depending on their milk production level. Feeding concentrates in the shed can, depending on the
feed cause unsettled milking (flies, cows not wanting to
leave shed etc.).
Minimal labour. It is relatively easy to adjust feeding rates and cows can normally be fed by simply pushing a button or pulling a cord. Cows cannot be stood off pastures and it is impossible to feed large quantities of feed or forages through a meal feeding system. Feeding dry cows can be a hassle.  
Every cow has the opportunity to eat an equal amount of feed
Intake is limited to a maximum of 4-5kg/DM.
Repairs and maintenance costs are typically very low. Due to the price per unit of energy farmers need to achieve greater milk response rate per kgDM fed for concentrates when compared to forages.

Cost of in-shed feeding systems

The approximate capital cost of a meal feeding system including a hammer mill for a 60-bale shed is $70,000. Costs are as follows:

Table 10. Approximate cost of feeding supplements through a meal feeding system.
Interest ($80,000 @ 6%) $4,800
Depreciation (assume 20 year life) $4000
Repairs and maintenance $700
Power $2,000
Total $11,500
Cost per kgDM (assuming 200tDM/year )
5.75 c/kgDM

Suppliers of in-shed feeding systems

There are a large number of suppliers of in-shed feeding systems in New Zealand. The table below includes some suppliers, but there are many others.

Table 11: In-shed feeding system suppliers in New Zealand
Company Website Phone
Advanced Feed Solutions Ltd 03 215 9437
Central Silo Systems Ltd 06 358 5805
Corohawk 0800 763 555
Permbrand SI Ltd 03 347 3171
PPP Industries Ltd 0800 901 902
REL Group (Integrated Farming Solutions) 03 302 7305
Sonoma Enterprises 09 551 0959
Delaval 0800 222 228