Across the globe, 2 billion people depend on agriculture for their income. If you're among them, one of the ways you can increase your bottom line is to reduce your overhead.
No matter what type of animal you're raising, you're going to need livestock feed. And, if you're not careful, it can quickly become one of your biggest expenses.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can save money when setting up a livestock feeding system that will help you lower your costs without impacting your income.
Keep reading to learn seven ways you can spend less on feeding your livestock.
1. Know What Your Animals Need
The most important thing you can do for your animals and your wallet is to know the exact nutritional requirements of the livestock you're raising.
If you breed animals, be sure to know what they need throughout gestation as well as throughout their growth stages. Different breeds will also have different nutritional requirements, so don't miss that aspect either.
When you choose the right feed, you'll lose less stock and will need fewer supplements to ensure the health of your animals. You'll also know exactly what you need and how much of it you'll need when setting up your feed system.
2. Plan Ahead
The more you plan ahead, the more money you can save. Figure out what your animals will need for the next year. Then, you'll know how often you need to purchase feed and how much space you'll need to store it in.
You can also more easily buy seasonally this way. For example, when the corn comes in, it's easy to get large quantities for a low price. If you have enough space, you can buy for the entire year rather than buy as you need it.
This is why you first need to figure out what your animals need from a nutritional standpoint. It will allow you to know how much space you need for each type of grain, hay, and supplement you're offering.
3. Buy Your Entire System at Once
It's no secret that setting up a livestock feed system is expensive. However, if you buy it piece by piece, the cost will go up even more. This is particularly true if you need large pieces of equipment.
Once you've planned out what you need, you can buy everything to set yourself up for success. That includes water systems, feed troughs, and food storage containers.
You'll save money on delivery when the truck only has to come out once to bring everything you need for your farm. You may also save by buying certain items like feed pans that you'll need a lot of.
4. Keep Good Records
If you're not already doing so, be sure to carefully keep track of everything. You need to be able to see exactly how much you're spending per animal throughout their growing season.
This will also help you notice trends in prices so you can see when the best time of the year is to buy certain feed, supplements, and even equipment.
Additionally, you can track how quickly animals go through a certain amount of feed so you can avoid buying too much and having it go bad before it's all eaten. Preventing waste in this way is just another way to save money on livestock feed.
5. Maintain Your Systems
Maintaining your feed systems is an essential part of ensuring they last for as long as they're supposed to. There are two primary things that you need to do if you want to keep your systems for longer.
Keep Everything Clean
Keeping your feed systems clean is not just for the benefit of the animals. It will also help your equipment last longer. When dust, dirt, and grime get into parts of the system, it makes them work harder. This causes them to wear out faster.
If you allow things to build up, it will also mean having to work harder to remove it later down the road. This can mean needing to use more force or harsher chemicals than you would have had you kept it clean.
Perform Regular Inspections
Whether or not a piece of equipment has moving parts, you need to regularly inspect it to make sure it's in good working order, clean, and able to perform its intended function.
This allows you to catch a small issue before it turns into a big problem. In many cases, you can then have a quick repair done rather than needing to replace an entire piece of machinery.
6. Read the Instructions
A huge part of properly maintaining your equipment is reading the instructions. Be sure to keep any information provided by the manufacturer on hand so you can reference it as needed.
This will give you the right information you need to ensure you're cleaning and maintaining them properly so you can avoid damaging them. You can also easily find what replacement parts are needed for faster repairs.
7. Focus on Herd Health
When your herd or flock is healthy, then you can feed them less and will also reduce expenses when it comes to medication or veterinary visits. Unhealthy animals need to eat more to get healthy, driving up your feed costs.
Healthy animals will also be gentler on your feed equipment because they won't be bored or overly hungry. This can help you reduce the wear and tear on systems so you can prolong their lifespans.
Maintaining overall health involves a myriad of things from making sure they have fresh clean water to having proper ventilation in barn areas. Their health should also be carefully monitored so any problems can be addressed as soon as possible.
Need More Tips on Saving Money on Livestock Feed Systems?
Now you know several ways you can save money on livestock feed systems. Although not all apply to every type of livestock, you should be able to use at least a couple of these no matter what you're raising.
If you want to learn more ways to save money on feed and improve your farm, check out our blog. A bonus way to reduce feed costs is to keep mice out of your livestock feed. Learn more here.