Following a very trying couple of months with the weather and harvesting we can now look forward to a more stable winter period. The maize harvest is well underway and the time has arrived to be finalising your winter feed programme. With such a variation in the quality of grass silages this year it is essential that you understand the value of it so that an accurate rationing programme can be set up. Failure to balance the correct types of protein and energy in the diet could result in loss of production, milk quality and cow health. Without running the risk of being accused of 'teaching our grandmother to suck eggs', balancing a dairy cows nutritional requirements for maintenance and production is not a simple procedure. The correct type of proteins need to be balanced according to the levels within the overall forages being used. The same applies with energy where levels of starch and sugar and high digestible fibre products may need to be rationed. As we discussed last month we feel that the sensible use of protein should be used in cow rationing whilst more attention needs to be paid to the energy side of the diet - not only in simple terms but also with the inclusion of by-pass starch (Processed B Maize) or energy dense product sources such as MEGALAC. For full details of all our technical and nutritional services plus our competitive prices on any of the above products, they can be obtained by ringing the office or your local agent.

With a number of grass silages analysing at very low dry matters it may well be that intakes could be affected by the wetness and also the butyric features that tend to go with wet forage. In cases like this it may well be that a source of sugar such as molasses would be appropriate to encourage intakes as well as stimulating energy. Molasses has long been used in TMR situations to cut down dust and encourage intakes and now a new product from Feedtec, LACTEC 45 has been developed. Basically it is a molasses type product with added Lactose to enhance rumen function, reduce free ammonia in the rumen, improve performance and reduce the risk of acidosis which can often occur with the use of one sugar source. It is the perfect balance to be fed with a grass / maize silage mix and it also provides a valuable source of protein (45%) to help keep the cost of expensive proteins to a minimum. For the benefit of sugars and protein this product provides it is well worth considering its use. For further details of this unique product please contact Gareth at the office (or your agent) who will either give quotations or arrange a farm visit by a member of the nutritional team from Feedtec.

We are very busy at the present time formulating 'custom blends' for individual farmers needs and are finding that more and more farmers are requesting blends for feeding to beef animals. Feeding a blend has the effect of increasing the forage intake when fed in a trough situation and mixed with the silage. Foraging for the blend stimulates the appetite and leads to increased liveweight gain and quicker throughput with increases of over 10% being achieved. This results in better utilisation of buildings and the potential to increase profits. If you are a beef farmer and would like to know more about formulating a blend for your own on farm situation please ring us on 01948 661602. The same comments also apply to heifer replacements and blends for those animals can also be formulated.

Why not go and look at the blend calculator and formulate your own blend, then submit the form and we will price it up for you. It couldn’t be any simpler.