January 2011 Newsletter

This months linked article's:


We are very pleased to inform you that we now are launching our latest venture.

With immediate effect we have been appointed as a supplier of Maize Seed by one of the major distributors in this country. As newcomers to the seed market we have been advised to concentrate on two varieties to begin with, supplied by two of the main breeders namely KWS and Limagrain. The two varieties are new to the NIAB list this year but come with terrific results behind them, as detailed below.

KENTAURUS (Maturity 11/12)

This variety matures very early without the usual yield penalty of other early varieties. The combination of high yield with above average M.E. means KENTAURUS produces more energy per acre than any other early variety. This coupled with the highest starch yield of any variety, bar one late variety, makes it an outstanding maize. In fact NIAB have been so impressed by it they have given it their award for the most outstanding variety of 2010. To obtain the optimum plant population it is recommended to be sown at 43,000 seeds per acre. More info...

ATRIUM (Maturity 6)

Maturing later than the early varieties (some 2 to 3 weeks dependant on the season) this new variety on the list has an impressive yield potential. In the last 3 years trials with NIAB, prior to coming onto the list, it has topped all other varieties on the entire list with its M.E. value of 11.7 Mj/kg. This coupled with an above average yield means ATRIUM produces more energy per acre than any variety on the NIAB list. While the energy is concentrated in the cob in all varieties, Limagrain the breeders, are trying to improve the feed value of the stem and leaves. This means the value of the whole plant is greater than any other. Usual sowing rates of 43,000 to 45,000 seeds per acre apply dependent on sowing time, sowing conditions and width of rows. If you want extremely high yields of M.E., starch and total amounts of silage harvested this is the variety to grow. More info...

Both these varieties are exclusive to GP Feeds and if you require further information about them, please contact the office, who will be only too happy to help you or arrange for a farm visit by a specialist if so required.

So start 2011 in an 'amaizing' way with KENTAURUS and ATRIUM - it is the way to better maize silage production.


A healthy rumen is one of the most important factors for maximising animal performance as this is where the true value of any feed is determined.

Ideally a rumen pH of 6.0 - 6.5 is most favourable for the mixed population of rumen micro-organisms. If it falls much below this acidosis results.

Rumen pH




6 - 7



Sub-acute or Chronic Acidosis


Acute Acidosis


Usually fatal

To get the most out of a ruminant diet the fibrous fraction needs to be broken down as fully as possible, a job carried out by the rumen micro-organisms.

The fibre digesting micro-organisms are particularly sensitive to pH, their numbers starting to decrease below pH 6.0. Feed digestion results in the formation of volatile fatty acids which would cause the pH to fall significantly if they were not being absorbed from the rumen and buffered by saliva produced during rumination.

Acute acidosis occurs when there is a rapid fall in rumen pH to below 5.2 and results in easily recognisable symptoms such as a severe reduction in intake initially followed by a lack of co-ordination and a reluctance to move around due to abdominal discomfort.

Sub-acute rumen acidosis (SARA) occurs when the pH falls below pH 5.7 and leads to low or variable intake and reduced performance as well as a number of other symptoms:

  • Low or variable intake
  • Low milk fat
  • Reduced cudding
  • Spitting out cud balls
  • Increased water intake
  • Diarrhoea
  • Foamy faeces with casts
  • More undigested fibre particles in dung
  • Lameness, especially front legs
  • Liver ulcers
  • Panting
  • Displaced abomasum

Because of this it is highly likely that SARA is much more prevalent than is realised - it is thought to affect more than 50% of all UK dairy cows (source Dairyco).

The type of feed and way it is fed both have a big impact on the rate it is broken down in the rumen and the ability of the rumen to maintain a normal pH.

Factors leading to acidosis

  • Diets with high levels of rapidly fermentable carbohydrates
  • Low fibre diets
  • A high concentrate:forage ratio
  • Switching from high forage to high concentrate diets to quickly
  • Poor quality silage with low intake
  • Very low Dry Matter diets
  • Very fine chopped forages
  • Over-mixed TMRs (fine particle sizes)
  • Mycotoxins

Diets containing high levels of highly fermentable carbohydrates (sugar and starch), especially if the particle size is small too, results in large amounts of acid being formed very fast. This accumulates faster than it can be absorbed or buffered and the pH falls rapidly to a low level. Below pH 5.2 acute acidosis will occur.

High lactic acid silages are often blamed for acidosis but it is not the silage per se that is the problem, rather the overall ration not being balanced properly.

The reduced fibre digestion means less acetate is produced. This is the precursor for milk fat so a reduced milk fat is a good indicator of acidosis, especially if you also see diarrhoea as acid accumulation causes an influx of water from the tissues into the gut.

Prevention of acidosis

It is far better to prevent acidosis occurring than to have to deal with the consequences so ensure the ration being fed is properly balanced to maintain a normal pH with minimum fluctuation and there is enough effective fibre to stimulate saliva production.

Feed high quality forage so there are no palatability issues that might reduce intake. Feeding little and often, as with a TMR (don't over process), will help avoid excess fluctuations. A buffer or yeast product can be included to help maintains rumen pH.


The concentrated live yeast product for performance oriented farmers. RA25 enhance cellulytic bacteria and stabilises the pH value in the rumen. CONTAINS PROTECTED SELENIUM & ZINC Fed at 25g/head/day. More info...


With moist feeds non-existent at present we still have available:

Stockfeed Carrots

Highly palatable. Ideal for ruminants to enhance forage intakes, but contain below average protein levels (9.5%). They have a dry matter of 11 - 13% and an ME of 12.3 - 12.8 MJ/Kg DM. They are a good source of beta carotene. As they are high in beta carotene prolonged use at high levels can colour milk fat in dairy cows or carcass fat in beef cattle. Beware of soil contamination.

They have usually been washed and do not store for more than 14 days in normal conditions. If storing outside, try to prevent frost damage by clamping or covering with straw. Typical inclusion 10 - 15 kg/day for dairy cows and 5kg per 100kg bodyweight for all cattle.



Can produce more dry matter / acre than cereal grains. A sugar rich energy feed for ruminants but the composition can vary. Soil contamination must be avoided to prevent digestive upsets as should excessive feeding. The digestive upsets are due to excessive sugar in the rumen and / or mineral imbalance. Chopping enhances intakes and ruminants relish the root due to its succulence and sugar.


Prices for all these products are subject to delivery areas, so please call the office for up to date prices. Available in 10t, 20t and 29t loads tipped.

GP Feeds 01948 661602 - the only number you need for your feed requirements for 2011.



Gareth or Rachel (Office)
01948 661602 Fax 01948 871776