Added: 10th October 2016




Why contract?  What is in it for you?

  • Winter minerals ordered in one phone call
  • Payment spread
  • Protection against potential price increases in Jan
  • Guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery whatever the weather!
  • Haulage discount possible for larger orders   

Ease cash flow – why not give us a call on 01359 272951


Added: 7th October 2016

Concentrate feeding requires effective rumen buffering


This year’s grass silage results on average indicate higher dry matter, increased fibre and lower energy forage compared to last year. This means many farmers will be feeding increased levels of faster fermenting feeds such as cereals containing starch. There will be outliers with wetter silage and higher lactic acid levels where farmers must pay close attention to indicators such as silage rumination index and acidosis index says ForFarmers’ Brian Doran.

With regard to feeding, as farmers aim to produce milk from forage, the energy available for milk production in grass silage will typically be less, so concentrate levels will see increased feed rates this winter. Freshly calved cows that receive high levels of feed to meet energy demands may find their natural rumination process is insufficient to meet the acidosis challenge from the diet, therefore additional buffering may be required.

Lactating dairy cows can produce over 200 litres of alkaline saliva every day, recycling more than 2.5kg/d of sodium bicarbonate into the rumen. Research work by ForFarmers Nutrition and Innovation Centre (NIC) shows that sodium bicarbonate has only a short-term buffering effect in the rumen and if feed is supplemented with sodium bicarbonate once or twice during the day much of the buffering effect is lost, either in the TMR mix or shortly after feeding.

Many conventional rumen buffers use sodium bicarbonate, however Rumibuff contains a balance of carefully selected natural marine algae and natural antioxidants. The product’s natural honeycombed structure increases the surface area and breaks down more slowly than conventional buffers in the rumen, providing a continuous buffering action which counteracts the acid produced by the diet, particularly when starch fermentation is at its maximum.

More information please call the Dairy Direct sales office on 01359 272951 



Added: 2nd August 2016

tractor silage 3

First Cut Silage – How does yours compare?

The initial analysis of this seasons first cut grass silage is now complete and reflects the effects of a wet, mild winter and challenging spring.

The results show average Dry Matter (DM) values are higher than 2015, whilst energy (ME) values are slightly lower.

Protein levels have improved, rising from 12.7 to 13.6 while fibre levels (NDF) have also increased.

In summary, first cut silage may not have the milk yield potential of last year but is more rumen friendly. Grass silage may need a fermentable energy boost to maximise milk from forage especially with later second cut silages.

The table below shows the national averages for this year’s first cut silage versus 2015. It also shows the top and bottom 25% of results and can help identify problem areas and pinpoint where improvements to the quality of silage could be made in the future.

Feeding Focus Table

Silage supplementation

Improved protein levels in this year’s first cut silages will give many farms the opportunity for cost savings by feeding a lower crude protein blend. However, due to the higher level of rumen fermentable protein in grass silage it is important to ensure it is balanced with a source of rumen by-pass protein.

Rumen protected protein, in the form of RapePlus, provides a highly cost effective method of making up any shortfall in microbial protein, by supplying high levels of by-pass protein. This product will also reduce the exposure to the resurgent Hipro Soya market.

The higher levels of fibre, coupled with higher dry matter, make the 2016 first cut a more ‘rumen friendly’ crop than last year. Early indications are that second cut could be similar. There is an opportunity to feed a blend with higher starch and sugar levels with a lower risk of acidosis. As with other years a balance between rapidly fermentable and slowly fermentable energy sources should be sought.

tractor silage 2Barley, wheat and biscuit meal are currently good value as a source of fermentable energy, while the higher cost of maize this season could be offset by feeding WheatPlus, a rumen protected rolled wheat product which acts as a slower fermentable energy source.

Shortfall in forage

This year’s unpredictable weather has left some producers with a shortage of grass and lower quantities of first cut silage than planned. Brewer’s grains offer a cost effective option for producers looking to plug the gap this shortfall creates.

At around £124/t utilised DM, grass silage has long been one of the lowest cost feeds available, but current prices for larger deliveries of brewer’s grains make them a cost effective alternative.

The relative cost of brewer’s grains compared to forage sources is even more promising when DM losses during grazing and silage harvesting, transportation, storage and feed out, are all taken into consideration.

Grazed grass has the highest level of loss at 25% utilised DM compared to 10% for zero-grazing and 17% for conventional silage. These hidden costs, even to grazed grass, are ones that farmers aren’t always aware of and don’t always consider when looking at relative feed costs.

The nutritional value of moist grains also compare favourably to grass and provides a consistent feed, taking out much of the variability of grazed grass and silage.

Feeding Focus Table 2

The digestible fibre content of alternatives forage sources is very important. Whilst the digestible fibre content of brewer’s grains is lower than grass, many farmers combine it with dried sugar beet pulp (SBP) and soya hulls, which is a good source of digestible fibre to ensile with the grains.

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