This months linked article's:





It is important that you begin to look at what you may require through the winter months. As the saying goes 'the early bird catches the worm' and for many who had booked summer contracts, these are due to come to and end. So give us a call on 01948 661602 and let us quote you for your winter feed. We provide excellent service and with our predictive order system we give you a call - so running out is not an issue as it was for some of you on our competitors feeds last winter.

We don't need to baffle you into quirky new fangled products - our ranges have been proven to give excellent results year after year - so why change them when they work! As with all our feeds we have a full complement of calf / youngstock feeds, along with fats and minerals to get the best from your animals from start to finish.

Don't forget we have:

  • Fixed prices
  • Fixed formulation
  • Friendly reliable service
  • Practical farm advice from well respected nutritionists
  • Products that do the job they are designed for

So if you are looking for the above from your feed supplier you NEED to pick up the phone and speak to us.


Over 600 first cut clamp silages have now been analysed. Despite the very different weather conditions in spring and early summer 2008 compared to 2007, the average results are remarkably similar between years.

Interestingly the main cutting date was one week later this year than last, during which time many 'good looking crops' will have matured with a negative impact on digestibility and hence energy.

  • Dry matter, D value, ME and Intake Potential are almost exactly the same as last season, both on average and range of result. A winter ration for 35 litres based on ad libitum grass silage will require 11 kg per day of a quality concentrate.
  • Whilst the average crude protein content between years is the same at around 13%, the minimum to maximum range is lower in 2008 (7.0% - 17.7% in 2008 vs 8.8% - 18.2% in 2007), possibly reflecting reduced fertiliser application.
  • Vitamin E is critical for its actions as an anti-oxidant, in immunity, fighting mastitis and somatic cell counts, fertility (not least through retained cleansings and metritis) and muscle integrity. Following the development of the vitamin E prediction last year, we can see that this years' average is slightly lower at 35.2mg/kg. This would mean that in a simple ration of 10kg DM grass silage, 4kg of blend and 8kg compound feed containing 100 mg vitamin E/kg, the vitamin E content of the farm mineral fed at 100g per head per day would need to be 5000mg/kg in order to meet the requirement of 1690mg/head/day for a 650kg cow.

In summary, when rationing based on this season's early grass results, particular attention must be paid to total energy supply, rumen energy supply, by-pass protein and overall protein balance to optimize performance, rumen health and prevent acidosis. With the averages being remarkably similar and the struggle to get cows to milk to potential associated with 2007, careful rationing this year is going to be vital to maintain yields and profitability. Let us take a silage sample and formulate the correct diet to get the best from your animals, especially now as a litre of milk could be worth 30p or more!


(Reproduced by kind permission of Frank Wright)

Milk production for the 2008-09 quota year is already falling behind targets. Cumulative milk production to June is some 117 million litres behind last year (3492.2 vs 3609.4 million litres) albeit with higher butter fat (3.97 vs 3.94%). UK quota has not been filled since before 2004-05:

Attention to adequate feeding of cows at grass is critical to optimize profitable summer milk production whilst preparing the cow for winter.

Over the previous two winters many dairy cows have failed to perform to expectation, both in terms of milk production and fertility. This was especially the case in cows calving before Christmas.

Much of the performance issues were associated with excessive loss of body condition resulting from over optimistic expectations of milk production from grazing and therefore insufficient supplementary summer feeding at grass.

Alarm bells are ringing once again for the forthcoming winter as the FWTNI milk yield from grazing service shows that the average monthly milk production from grass this year is the same as 2006 and 2007. For July, milk from grazing averages approximately M+10 litres.

Clearly, to avoid the problems experienced in previous winters, attention to feeding at grass should start now. This is particularly important as milk production potential from grazing declines quickly in August and September. Supplementary feeding will boost dairy performance and profitability in the immediate and longer term.

The requirement for feeding at grazing in August is seen in the following table. The potential milk from grazing in August 2007 is balanced with an 11ME silage buffer feed (where appropriate within appetite restrictions) and concentrate to yield, allowing for body weight change. 'Target feeding' is realistic approach to meeting requirements whilst 'typical feeding' is a restricted concentrate feeding approach used on many farms with cows at grass. In the latter case the figures for forage intake are considered optimistic:

The calculated figures show three key points:

  1. Milk from grazing with adequate (target) concentrate feeding rates is profitable; the margin over concentrates (assuming a milk price of only 25 p/l and a concentrate price of £220 per tonne) is £6.11 and £4.93 per cow per day at 35 and 25 litres respectively.
  2. Underfeeding cows at grass has serious consequences on cow body condition. With restricted (typical) concentrate feeding at grass, cows will lose 1.5kg per day in early lactation (target -0.5 kg/d) and lose 0.25 kg/day in later lactation (when 0.25 kg/d weight gain is the target). The longer term effects of underfeeding cows at grass are lower milk production and reduced fertility.
  3. Clearly, it makes no sense whatsoever to underfeed cows at grass. The result is a significant loss in profitability.

It is important to know the potential of milk from grass on every farm rather than rely on averages. The main influencing factors are the quantity of available grass, its dry matter content and grazing time. The ME of grazed grass varies little between years or indeed from May to the end of September. Graphs comparing weekly milk from grazing and nutrient content for 2008 and 2007 are given below.

The FWTNI Milk from Grazing Ready Reckoner has proved to be an accurate and valuable tool on dairy units this year. Please use it to optimize performance during the critical late summer and early autumn period. The August ready reckoner is as follows:

Finally, regarding the nutrient analysis of grass, it is interesting to note that the NDF was higher during May and June this summer than in 2007, which will have contributed to the generally higher butterfat content of milk this quota year. Secondly, until early July the protein content of grazed grass in 2008 was lower than 2007, possibly reflecting on lower fertilizer application. If this is the case, vigilance is needed to ensure grazing availability will sustain predicted target yields through the remaining summer months or additional feeding will be needed.

The average weekly charts from the FWTNI grazing monitor programme are as follows:


We have a product that can help to rectify some of your problems 'CS Plus' primarily used as a fat with high C16 content it is also good at helping your cows get back some of the condition she may have lost over the summer.

What does CS Plus do?

  • Maintains & improves cow condition
  • Improves milk yield
  • Raises butterfats

With all the above being improved it therefore helps to improve fertility. CS Plus can be added to home mixes or best of all we can add it to any of our compounds and blends for you.

If you want to know more about CS Plus which is EXCLUSIVE to GP Feeds then pick up the phone and give Gareth a call on 01948 661602



Gareth or Rachel (Office)
01948 661602 Fax 01948 871776