This months linked article's:
WHAT PRICE MOISTURE LEVELS?
If a feed company, consultant or nutritionist provides a ration of overall diet for you it is based on a dry matter (DM) basis. It is the overall dry matter intake (DMI) of the diet that is essential to all species, water having no nutritional value but being essential.
As cows are fed on this basis it is obvious that the lower the dry matter content of the ration will lower the energy and protein intakes also. Further to this if a ration has a moisture level over 13% (87% DM) there could be the possibility of the product, if kept in warm conditions over 2 or 3 weeks, going mouldy with the increase in toxicity levels rising.
The European Union voluntary code of practice states that moisture (or dry matter) does not have to be declared on the delivery ticket, but if the ration is worked out on a dry matter basis why do some manufacturers not declare it? The majority do but some companies deem fit not to be fully open in their declarations. One wonders why, but conclusions could be drawn.
All the extruded products (nuts or pellets) that we manufacture average 12.2% moisture (87.8% DM). On our travels we see a lot of declaration tickets that go as high as 14% moisture (86% DM) and dependent on the cost of the product this could mean up to £6 per tonne must be added to be equal with our prices. The higher the moisture level the lower the intake of energy and protein will be limited as explained earlier, so milk production and growth rates will be affected.
Take careful note of the moisture levels declared on your tickets (if declared) you might find you have a shock at how high some of them are and with water being relatively cheap compared with other raw materials are you getting a fair deal?
If you would like to talk to us about moisture levels in raw materials, compounds or blends please ring the office on 01948 661602 and speak to Gareth, who will be happy to discuss them with you.
Early reports from this feeding season are that silages are not 'working' as well as they should! Reports from many farms are that cows are eating well and silages appear to have high intakes Ė usually a good sign Ė but somehow the benefits are not being seen in the bulk tank. Many nutritionists have commented that despite trying the usual nutritional tweaks, cows are still lacking that 'spark' to get milk really flowing.
It is clear that cows are just not extracting as much energy from their forage as expected. Forages typically contain 45-55% fibre. Fibre is not as well digested and utilised as the other components of the diet (starch, oil, protein etc.). In fact, only 40-65% of fibre is digestible and available for milk production - indicating that a lot of potential still lies 'untapped' within forage!
Maximising intakes can be a challenge, this is where molasses fits into the diet very well. Highly palatable, high in energy and high in proteins and all available from a liquid.
We will as always still be highly competitive on any molasses products you may require. Please take a little time and have a look at our range of molasses available. For more information on molasses please call the office on 01948 661602 and speak to Gareth.
DON’T HAVE A TANK? – NO PROBLEM! INTEREST FREE TANK SCHEMES AVAILABLE
A small number of farmers still think it is the protein level in the diet that determines the milk protein in the milk. As we know this is not the case but it is the overall energy level in the diet that affects the milk proteins.
Last winter we saw a lot of low milk proteins because the majority of forages were well below average in the terms of energy levels because of the awful weather in the previous summer. When cows are not getting sufficient energy in the diet, apart from protein levels being affected, poor fertility could also occur. The type of energy fed, particularly starch and sugars, enhance the levels of milk proteins which of course determines the price you get paid for your milk in a lot of cases. Because of the lack of sunlight in summer 2012 along with poor growing and harvesting conditions, grasses were low in sugars and energy and maize was low in starch both of which led to very average silages. As well as these poorer forages there were also poor results from cereal crops which were low in bushel weights, energy and starch so this only compounded the situation. The effect of weather also encouraged liver fluke and worm burdens which can also affect energy levels and reduce milk proteins.
This winter forages need to be analysed regularly and diets can be adjusted accordingly through blends, parlour feeds or by other means. Loss of conditions, poor fertility and low milk proteins will still prevail if there is a shortage of energy. There are a number of ways to help counteract these problems including feeding treated cereals or by feeding some form of molasses to provide extra sugar and to improve forage intakes which in turn will boost energy levels.
This is the time to counteract these milk protein drops in your milk by thinking in terms of high energy blends and parlour feeds - donít even consider the 'cheap and cheerful' route it will cause untold problems. Another way to boost energy in a different way is by adding small amounts of a product like MEGALAC, which will considerably boost overall energy in the diet without reducing overall feed intakes.
Let's hope we have a good winter season with the majority of silages analysing out very good for energy and sugar levels. The forages are there to perform, it is up to you to balance them correctly with high energy feeds.
That is where GP Feeds come in to help you and advise on the correct type of ration to feed to get the best results out of your cows. Donít wait for any problems give us a ring now before it is too late.
REMEMBER IT IS EASIER AND CHEAPER TO STOP THE PROBLEM BEFORE IT STARTS, RATHER THAN TRY TO CORRECT IT WHEN IT HAS HAPPENED
This question was asked by a number of farmers last winter following escalating costs. The following points may help you make up your own mind.
With the current cost of growing a maize crop at a little over £500 per acre on average (Table 1), is it still viable to grow against other forages like wholecrop wheat, crimped wheat or grass? In recent data published, the MGA (Maize Growers Association) it shows that forage maize is still the most economic forage to grow being the most reliable source of energy by producing 1 tonne of dry matter (DM) for almost 20% less than grass silage.
AVERAGE COSTS OF GROWING A MAIZE CROP PER ACRE
If slurry or farm yard manure is applied, and dependant on the amount spread, these costs could be reduced by approximately £20 per acre. In comparison the costs of producing grass silage based on a 3 year ley, taking 3 cuts a year, will vary in each individual farm due to different weather conditions affecting yields, different levels of fertiliser application and many other aspects. However, it is recognised that the total costs per acre for producing grass silage are higher than those for producing maize silage, one main reason being forage and harvesting costs. Table 2 shows other aspects that have to be taken into consideration also, having considerable bearing on the production and quality levels of the milk produced.
When comparing the average yields and energy content of various forages the following Table 3 shows big difference with maize silage overall figures looking very competitive against other conserved forages especially on the dry matter yield per acre. This means that you will have more dry matter in your silage pit for your stock with very high starch yield per acre.
Hopefully, these figure will enable you to put your own values on your forages and decide whether maize is still economic to grow. We think these figures still prove that it is the dry matter yields of any forage crop that determines the basis for good performance from your stock and that maize still has a very important role to play in your feeding regime.
QUALITY PRODUCTS FOR QUALITY PRODUCTION
To discuss any of these products, along with your other on farm requirements please call GP Feeds on 01948 661602 or use our text line number 07969 808188
Gareth or Rachel (Office)
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