This months linked article's:

Realistic Approach to Summer Dairy

(Reproduced with kind permission of Frank Wright Trouw Nutrition International)

Phase One of Winter Feeding

For the past 3 years the advisor and the dairy farmer have faced a miserable start to the winter due to the general failure of cows to perform to predicted levels. The exception has been those units where attention to detail during the summer months has closely balanced nutrient supply and demand for milk production and live weight change, thereby ensuring the herd enter winter in optimum condition for continued peak performance. The key to year-round dairy cow performance is knowing, and taking a realistic approach, to the potential milk yield from grazing on the farm.

Measuring milk yield from grazing

The monitoring tools available include the FWTNI Milk Yield from Grazing (MYfG) Analysis service and the MYfG Ready Reckoner. Both are supported by the weekly MYfG summary available by e-mail, which provides an overview of the national averages and notably updates the changing dry matter of grazing required to utilise the ready reckoner on farms. The average monthly Milk Yield from Grazing for the past 5 years is shown below:

Measuring milk yield from grazing

Clearly, 2005 was the last 'good' grass year peaking at an average of M+22 litres of milk from grazing in June. In comparison, 2006 was a drought year whilst the last 3 summers were wet, yet all produced a similar peak of M+13 to 14 litres. At its peak, there is a difference of 9 litres (45MJ) between the best and worst years'.

The realistic average monthly milk yield from grazing (and required grass dry matter intake) for a typical and grassy summer is given in the table. It is particularly interesting to note that even during the 'Indian Summer' of 2009, grazing in September and October still failed to provide for any more than maintenance requirements.

Measuring milk yield from grazing

Lost winter performance

Over-estimation of the milk yield from grazing results in insufficient energy intake and excessive body condition loss. One body condition score loss equates to approximately 75kg live weight. Whilst each 1kg of live weight loss contributes 28MJ (approximately 5.5litres of milk), restoring that 1kg of loss requires 34MJ (approximately 6.5 litres of milk). For example, a cow losing only half a condition score through the summer requires 1275 MJ of energy to replenish it (37.5kg x 34MJ, equivalent to 1.5 x 25kg bags of GP Feeds CS Plus Fat). If replenishment of this body weight loss occurs during the first 3 months of winter feeding, the feed energy lost for milk production equates to 14 MJ per day or nearly 3 litres per cow per day. This is in line with the poor early winter performance noted in previous years - without considering the associated fertility and health issues.

Grazing reality check

Grazing reality check

The FWTNI Grazing Reality Check has been developed to focus on the critical impact of inadequate summer feeding. The simple spreadsheet utilizes the actual farm data and predicted milk yield from grazing to compare nutrient supply and demand and thereby predict energy balance and live weight change for that farm situation. In the example, the required milk yield from grazing is some 2.3 litres below that which is available. This results in an energy deficit of 11.7MJ equating to 0.4kg of body weight loss which could easily be rectified by feeding an extra kg of GP Feeds compound or buffer feed. In other situations where milk from grazing exceeds expectations, buffer feeding or GP Feeds compound feed rates could be cut to achieve the required energy balance. The important fact is that the reality check uses the actual farm data to predict the current status and prevent long term under or over feeding of cows at grass.

In summary

Successful feeding of dairy cows at grazing requires attention to detail. The basis of success is an accurate knowledge of the potential milk yield from grazing. There are several tools tailor made for this purpose. Utilizing these for a true estimation of yield from grass will not only influence performance during the summer months but also into the winter. For further information please ring the office on 01948 661602.

Take a look at our spring and summer rations and fats on the following pages and let us help you to take your cows into the winter,
fully charged and ready to go.


The weather seems have taken a turn for the better in recent weeks, with many of you taking advantage of the weather to catch up on much needed field work, all we need now it a little more rain to get that grass growing so that the silaging season can get going. Whilst you are waiting for that much needed rain why not have a look through our summer range of compounds - we have a product to suit all needs, with prices starting at £150/t depending on product and load size. All our products have our fixed formulation, no substitution and fixed pricing guarantee - who else can offer you this!

Rich Dairy Range

An excellent cost effective range starting with Rich Dairy 16% nuts. Excellent source of digestible fibre, good rumen protein supply.



Ingredients: Wheatfeed, Wheat, Palm Kernal, Sunflower, Molasses, Soya Hulls, Rapemeal, Sugarbeet, Minerals & Vitamins and Fat Blend.


Select Range

A highly cost effective range, which has sold very well through last winter. We now have two summer rations following on from last winters' successful launch.



Ingredients: Wheat, Rapemeal, Barley, Wheatfeed, Palm Kernal, Soya Hulls, Citrus, Molasses, Sunflower, Minerals & Vitamins and Fat Blend.


Enhance HDF Range

New this season, following on from the excellent response of the Enhance range launched during last winter. Well balanced rations of protein, energy and quality fibre characteristics.



Ingredients: Rapemeal, Wheatfeed, Palm Kernal, Soya Hulls, Wheat, Barley, Molasses, Biscuitmeal, Hipro Soya, Minerals & Vitamins and Fat Blend.


Supreme HDF Range

HE Supreme HDF 16 nuts is our most popular spring / summer ration, it accounts for over 40% of our spring / summer sales year on year. This is a high quality nut, made of high quality raw materials. This ration will help to maximise your milk production whilst maintaining butterfat levels at a time when the grass will naturally decrease them.



Ingredients: Wheat, Maize, US Maize Distillers, Hipro Soya, Palm Kernal, Sunflower, Rapemeal, Sugarbeet, Citrus, Molasses, Megalac, Minerals & Vitamins and Fat Blend.


Excel Range

Excel 16 nuts is the Rolls Royce of our spring / summer range. With Sugarbeet, Wheat and Hipro Soya making up 47.5% of the total feed. Excel 16 has been especially formulated for spring calvers producing more than 40 litres. The emphasis is on lower protein and a range of quality energy sources. This ration will help to maximise your milk production whilst maintaining butterfat levels at a time when the grass will naturally decrease them.


Ingredients: Wheat, Maize, US Maize Distillers, Palm Kernal, Hipro Soya, Biscuitmeal, Sugarbeet, Citrus, Soya Hulls, Megalac, Sopralin, Molasses, Minerals & Vitamins and Fat Blend.

All the above rations are available in 16%, 18% & 20% proteins. Discuss the perfect ration for your cows please contact the office on 01948 661602


Look at your milk contract

If it pays you to maintain your butterfat levels, you need to consider feeding CS PLUS which is an exclusive product to GP Feeds. Aimed at improving butterfats, fertility, increasing milk yield as well as improving the condition score of your cows. It is a specially formulated fatty acid blend processed with a selected glucose preparation into a free flowing dust-free meal. It has been designed for mixing into compound feeds or home mix diets. The recommended usage rate is 300 grams per cow per day. However, levels can be increased for high performance dairy cows.

The blend of protected and slow release fatty acids rich in C:16, has been put together to maximise synergistic effects on net energy yield and milk quality. The unsaturated: saturated ratio is close to 3:1. The glucose blend enhances liver function and hormonal, nervous and enzymic systems to increase overall animal performance. More about CS Plus...


What is secondary fermentation?

This happens before the clamp is opened and when a stable pH has not been achieved initially, often because of insufficient sugars being present or contamination by slurry or soil. An undesirable bacteria (clostridia) converts the lactic acid being produced into butyric acid. This leads to high ammonia levels and complete breakdown of protein within the silage. Dry matter losses will be high and the result is an undesirable unpalatable low value forage.

What factors will help to achieve a good fermentation?

  • Use quality grass swards and cut at an early stage of growth
  • High dry matter content
  • High sugar levels - over 2% is best
  • Rapid clamp filling
  • Appropriate chop length - dryer material requires a shorter chop
  • Increase the number of lactic acid producing bacteria by applying a silage innoculant
  • Correct compaction - the drier the material the more important the rolling and sealing of the clamp to exclude air

What factors prevent a good fermentation?

  • Contamination of grass by soil at clamping
  • Heavy or late applications of fertiliser (assume 2 units of N are utilised per day, after application - do not cut before all units have been taken up)
  • Late slurry applications - ideally not less than 10 weeks before cutting
  • Application of dirty water or effluent
  • Bad sealing of the silage sheet (use CLAMPFILM to guarantee sealing)

What is AEROBIC spoilage?

This occurs as a result of exposure to air. Well fermented silage lasts a long time but once opened aerobic spoilage can occur on the face and work back through the clamp. You will notice darkening of the face, an increasing of the pH value, heating up and visable growth of moulds. This is often wrongly called secondary fermentation.

What causes AEROBIC spoilage?

It is initiated mainly by yeasts that grow and use substances like residual sugars and lactic acid. They convert these into carbon dioxide and water and during the process will generate heat and high DM losess. After this yeast activity moulds join the party! They grow on a wider range of substances so spoilage quickens. These silages will have reduced palatability and the inclusion of MYCOSORB mould inhibitor to the feed is strongly advised.

Preventing aerobic spoilage

  • Narrow clamp face
  • Good compaction at filling
  • Shorter chop length of high DM silage
  • Good sealing and weighting down of sheet
  • Tidy clamp face (use of shear grab or block cutter)
  • Keep the sheet OFF the open clamp face



What Applicator? Which Contractor? What Application Rate? Which Harvester?



  • For treating all grass and legume silage
  • Available for liquid or dry application in 100 tonne packs
  • Liquid can be applied form 20mls up to 2 litres per tonne
  • Can be applied with any applicator, on any harvester
  • Recommended for conventional or organic use
  • Applies 1 million MTD/1 bacteria per gram of forage treated
  • 2 year shelf life
  • Proven to increase Milk Yield & LWG


If you haven't already booked your silage additive yet - give the office a call to discuss ECOSYL.

Our sales of Ecosyl have increased tenfold over the last 2 years - surely those customers who choose to use it can't be wrong. We would like you to join our increasing list of very happy and satisfied customers.

If your silage is looking wet or may be contaminated you may want to consider:


One of the best known and respected of all acid silage preservatives, Add-F, is now available in a non-corrosive formula from us, called Add-F NC (for non-corrosive). Originally developed by BP forty years ago, Kemira Chemicals have now taken over production and have made it far safer by using their proven gaseous ammoniation buffering process to remove the adverse effects that the old Add-F had on machinery and skin.

Add - F NC is ideal for: All silages that are low in sugar and/or have a high nitrate level and/or wet and contaminated grass.

Add-F NC is 80% formic acid, known for many years as the most effective and rapid silage preservative. Formic acid treatment is often used as the benchmark when research scientists test the effectiveness of silage additives because of its known reliability and predictability. Unfortunately handling and corrosion problems have made it increasingly unpopular for farm use. Kemira has a good name for developing effective farmer and environmentally friendly products so we expect the new formulation to regain its former popularity. Now available in 205 and 1000 litre containers. We can usually deliver within 48 hours.



Gareth or Rachel (Office)
01948 661602 Fax 01948 871776