Added: 2nd August 2016
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.
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.
Barley, 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.
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.
Why not consider Caustic Soda
Added: 26th July 2016
What are some benefits of feeding caustic treated cereals ?
- Caustic treated cereals are alkaline in nature and as such are naturally better for the cow and can assisting in reducing acidosis, which could cut down your rumen buffer bills.
- Caustic treated cereals are resilient to mould and not appealing to pesky vermin
- Damp grain to be successfully stored without the need for drying, which could save you time and money.
- Caustic treated cereals provide a slower release of fermentable energy to the rumen due to its larger particle size.
The treatment process neutralises the Caustic Soda, leaving a sodium (salt) residue. You should consider the use of a Low Sodium Mineral (Sodagrain Balancer) in diets containing Caustic treated grains. This will avoid excessive water intake caused by the residual sodium.
For more information and delivered prices to your area please give us a call on
Please do bear in mind… Caustic Soda is a hazardous product and appropriate precautions should be taken before handling and usage.
Added: 24th May 2016
Post calving energy boost
All the metabolic changes that occur around calving may lead to a serious drop in dry matter intake, therefore to maintain the performance of the herd and keep cows in the right condition, a good start after calving is essential.
Most important changes that occur during calving
Changes in fluid and electrolyte balance
Directly before and during calving, cows don’t eat and drink, but they do lose water and electrolytes. This may make them listless, reducing their intake of dry matter.
Rapid increase in calcium demand
Colostrum and milk contain large quantities of calcium, so the amount of calcium a cow needs directly after calving increases dramatically. Their bodies try to meet this need by increasing the uptake of calcium from their diet and by releasing calcium from their bones. If they’re not successful with this process cows can develop milk fever. Even cows that don’t show visible signs of milk fever can still have low calcium levels in their blood, which also reduces their dry matter intake.
Negative energy balance
At the start of lactation most cows are in what’s known as negative energy balance. They try to compensate for this by using up body fat. This changes their metabolism which may result in ketosis later in lactation. To avoid problems it’s important for cows to increase their dry matter intake as soon as possible after calving.
Restore nutrient balance after calving
TRANSLAC HydroBoost contains electrolytes, calcium and energy, everything a cow needs to quickly restore its nutrient balance after calving and to increase its blood calcium levels. TRANSLAC HydroBoost also stimulates dry matter intake after calving which helps in maintaining good milk production and body condition
Providing TRANSLAC HydroBoost the palatable energy drink immediately after calving will:-
- Quickly rehydrate and replenish mineral loss in the cow and help to keep blood calcium at normal levels.
- Help the cow to restore its nutrient balance after calving.
- Increase the cow’s activity and forage intake.
How to feed TRANSLAC HydroBoost
When to use
Provide TRANSLAC HydroBoost to the cow directly after calving.
Directions for use :-
Mix 1kg of TRANSLAC HydroBoost powder with 10 litres of hot water (40-45°C). The solution will turn orange. Once dissolved, add 10 litres of cold water to achieve a drinking temperature around 25-30°C. Provide 20 litres of the lukewarm TRANSLAC HydroBoost solution to the cow once within 30 minutes after calving and before it is given free access to water.
A further dose may be offered after 24 hours if the cow is still weak or appetite is poor.
Dextrose, Whey powder, Calcium carbonate, Sodium chloride, Wheat, Sodium bicarbonate, Whey protein, Cocos oil, Palm oil, Monopotassium phosphate, Sunflower oil.
Due to its higher content of vitamin D3 compared to complete feeds this complementary feed cannot be fed more than 1.5kg per dairy cow per day
TRANSLAC HydroBoost Available in re-sealable 20kg buckets
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