December 2011 Newsletter

This months linked article's:

We can't believe that as we write this newsletter, it is November already - where has this year gone, or are we just getting old!


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 - usually a good sign - 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!


The feed additive Amaferm has been developed specifically to improve fibre digestion. In fact, Amaferm is the only feed additive registered in the EU as a digestion enhancer for dairy cows! Amaferm has been proven to increase fibre digestion by around 30% and milk production by an average of 4.8% across 18 peer reviewed scientific experiments.

During the past two winters, many tens of thousands of cows within the UK and Ireland have been converting energy from forage into milk more efficiently thanks to the effects of Amaferm....


If you haven't already placed your Christmas and New Year orders with us, don't delay call the office today on 01948 661602.


Limited deliveries on:

  • Thursday 22rd December
  • Friday 23th December
  • Wednesday 28th December
  • Thursday 29th December
  • Friday 31st December
  • Tuesday 3rd January 2012
  • Wednesday 4th January 2012

No deliveries on:

  • Saturday 24th December (Christmas Eve)
  • Sunday 26th December (Christmas Day)
  • Monday 27th December (Boxing Day)
  • Tuesday 27th December (Bank Hols in lieu)
  • Saturday 31st December (New Years Eve)
  • Sunday 1st January 2012 (New Years Day)
  • Monday 2nd January 2011 (Bank Holiday in lieu)

Normal deliverys will resume on Thursday 5th January 2012



Have you enough forage on hand to feed all your ruminant livestock for the rest of the winter? As we head towards the New Year now is the time to measure up your silage pits, big bales etc to determine whether you have enough feed to last till turn out time - whenever that may be. Certain parts of the UK are desperately short of silage due to the very dry spring and summer this year, whilst other areas have adequate supply on hand. Due to some areas (mainly in the Midlands and South) being short on forage, it is creating an unprecedented demand for replacement products, which is causing artificially high prices and acute shortages.

You need to check immediately as to whether you have enough to last the season, If you don't and find out you are running out of stock in, say, March, you could find great difficulty in getting a replacement product , and if you could it would be very expensive. There are various figures published on how to work out the tonnage in a silage pit but below are tables which are not too far off the mark using average figures.

Table a) Grass Silage Quality, kgs per cubic metre (lbs per cubic feet)

Silage depth in metres (feet)
Dry Matter % 2.5m (8') 3.0m (10') 3.5m (12')
20 865 (52) 881 (55) 920 (58)
25 735 (46) 772 (48) 803 (50)
30 658 (41) 689 (43) 715 (45)
35 597 (37) 624 (39) 646 (40)

Multiply pit lengthy x pit width x pit height x kgs per cubic metre as per table (or lbs per cubic feet) ÷ 1000 (or 2240) = TONNES IN PIT approx.

If you wish to know the total Dry matter available you should multiply the cubic metres available by the following factors dependant on the dry matter of the silage.

Dry Matter %

  • 20 multiply by 0.77
  • 25 multiply by 0.68
  • 30 multiply by 0.60

Please note:

  • You need 1¾ tonnes of Dry Matter per milking cow for a 180 day winter.
  • You need 1 tonne of Dry matter per dry cow for a 180 day winter. (Plus Youngstock and / or Beef animals)

If this table and equations are as clear as mud, please ring one of our agents to assist you in working out you own individual stocks available.

There are numerous products in the market place that can replace silages but not all of them are freely available at present. The wetter the product the more it will take to replace 1kg of silage / forage. The table overleaf indicates a number of these products with current prices and availability to help you decide which to buy on an economic basis, but also bear in mind the dryer the product the less space is taken in the rumen. Also take into account some of these products may also add extra protein and energy / starch to the diet, more than the silage it is replacing.

Forage Replacers

DM % Feeding Availability Approx.
current pence
per kg

Wet Feeds

Brewers Grains
Dairy - up to 10kgs max
Beef - up to 20kg max
Not available 4.5
Fodder beet 18
Dairy & Beef - 3kgs per 100kg L.W max
Limited 4.5
Potatoes 20
Dairy & Beef - 3kgs per 100kg L.W max
Very Limited 4.0
Grass silage 20 - 30
As required
Limited 4.0
Maize Silage 25 - 35
As required
Limited 4.5


Processed Bread
Dairy - 4kg max
Beef - up to 50% of DM intake
Very limited 15
Superplus 18
Dairy / Beef - 8kgs max
Heifers - 6kgs max
Available 14

Dry Feeds

GP Feeds Forage Saver Blend
88 - 90
Dairy / Beef - 4kgs max
Heifers - 3kgs max
Available 19.5
Soya Hulls 88
Dairy / beef - 4kgs max
Available 16
Citrus Pellets 90
Dairy / beef - 2kgs max
Heifers - 1 -2kgs max
Available 18
Sugarbeet Pellets / Nuts 90
Dairy - 4kgs max
Heifers / Beef - up to 25% of DM intake
Available 20
Wheatfeed Pellets 86
Dairy - 4kgs max
Heifers / beef - up to 25% of DM intake
Available 16.5
Maize Gluten 88
Dairy - 6kgs max
Heifers - 3kgs max
Beef - up to 40% of DM intake
Available 19.5
Straw 87
Dairy - up to 3kgs max
Heifers - Ad-lib
Dry Cows - up to 5kgs max
Beef - up to 4kgs max
Available 10

On average 1kgs wet feed will replace 1kgs silage @25% DM
On average 2kgs dry feed will replace 10kgs silage @ 25% DM

Sufficient long fibre must be available at all times (minimum 45% of overall DM intake)


  • 10kgs Potatoes replacing 10kgs silage - will cost 40p per day
  • 10kgs Brewers Grains replacing 10kgs of silage - will cost 45p per day
  • 4kgs Superplus replacing 10kgs of silage - will cost 56p per day
  • 2kgs GP Feeds Forage Saver Blend replacing 10kgs of silage - will cost 39p per day
  • 2kgs Sugarbeet nuts / pellets replacing 10kgs of silage - will cost 40p per day

Over 60t of silage could be saved per month if a forage replacer was introduced on a 100 cow dairy herd with followers. This would adequately feed the whole herd and followers for a further 11 days for each of the months on the system.

Top tip

Put your replacement heifers on to ad-lib straw and 3kgs GP Feeds Heifer Rearing nuts to maintain steady growth to calving at the same time saving on silage.





Gareth or Rachel (Office)
01948 661602 Fax 01948 871776