Animal efficiency in any livestock operation is paramount to overall profitability and sustainability. Dairy farms are no different. While producers often think of time, money and facilities as areas to maximize efficiency from, considering each animal can level up efforts even more. Feed efficiency remains vital to that effort.

Faith Reyes, a University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension Dairy Outreach Specialist, says residual feed intake (RFI) is a way to think about how each cow uses the energy it consumes. She says roughly two-thirds of a cow’s energy goes to milk production and another 23% toward maintenance. Body reserves take 5% and the remainder is considered RFI. RFI is a direct indicator of feed efficiency and can help producers understand how to manage feed rations more optimally.

Read more on dairy feed efficiency here.