October 2014 Newsletter

This months linked article's:


The analysis is great, but the cows aren't milking...

We take an analysis of our grass, whole-crop, or maize silage, then send it to a laboratory, which generally uses a technology called “NIR Spectroscopy” to provide estimates of the nutritional values. This technology exploits the fact that many natural products absorb NIR radiation at specific regions or wavelengths. Some proteins absorb more radiation, equally, some sugars reflect less, so a massively complex mathematical model compares the reflected/absorbed IR wavelengths with previously calibrated “reference samples.

But that’s not what a cow does

For instance, let’s take a herd averaging 27 litres. The cows (on average) are eating 10 KGs of concentrate from TMR and parlour feed per day. For maintenance and production, that gives a requirement of  207 Mj of energy. We know the concentrate is delivering around 117 Mj, so the silage is delivering 90 Mj. How much silage is the cow eating? 40 Kgs of 25% DM silage, is 10 KGs of DM. So the cow analysis of the silage, is that it offers 9 Mj/Kg, and that is not an estimate, it is the reality.

That’s what a cow does

Less Milk from Silage - Is it time to hit the Panic Button? Of course, it’s not just that simple….

NIR analysis gives us a guide, and how we interpret it is the determining factor in how well the ration is formulated to achieve the genetic potential of the cow.

But in the following article, we’ll look at some of the things that do go wrong with silage, and that aren’t picked up by standard analysis, and what you can and can’t do about them.


Macro and Trace Elements

Many of us have used “DCAB” systems in transition cows, which work on the basis of Calcium utilization in the ruminant being subject to the dietary cation/anion balance (macro elements are either positively or negatively charged, the cumulative positive/negative balance affects all aspects of nutrition). Silages, particularly after a lot of years of slurry application, and soil compaction, have taken on in recent years, very different characteristics to even 25 years ago. Legislation such as the “Clean Air Act”, have reduced markedly the levels of what were classed as pollutants (such as Sulphur), sometimes to the detriment of the soil.

A typical farm making 1,000 Tonnes of grass silage, is harvesting, for instance, around 6 Tonnes of Calcium from the fields, and exporting a proportion of that from the farm each year in milk and animal.

Equally, the annual concentration of Potassium, for instance, ends up concentrating in the plant material, with severe consequences for both milking and transition cows.

These shortages and excesses, can often combine to depress yields, fertility, and immunity. Analysis – and correct dietary interpretation – we as a business have the experience in this area, more so than the rest.


All protein is comprised of the basic building blocks – amino acids – and it is how those building blocks are chained together, and how they are folded, that determines how “good” a protein is for the cow. Although 65% of the protein the cow needs can be assembled by the rumen (via the rumen microflora) there are some amino acids (essential limiting amino acids) which need to be fed as they can’t be synthesized.

When grass silage is made, the fermentation process directly changes or loses, some of the proteins, that’s why the grass containing 20% + Crude protein, frequently produces a silage at 12 – 14% Crude Protein. In “poor silage years” this breakdown/loss is amplified.

Some of those limiting amino acids, such as Methionine and Lysine, are simply not adequately supplied in the silage, and some, such as Leucine, are relatively higher in maize silages than grass, even where the basic crude protein measurement is lower.

To ensure that the rumen microflora are adequately supplied, it’s really important to compensate via our fixed formulation feeds as, we can specifically target the concentrate fraction, for the deficiencies in the silages.

Amines and Amides

As a direct result of bacterial processes in silage making, sometimes toxins such as amines are created. Most people will know about histamine, and its involvement in inflammatory responses in , for instance, hay-fever sufferers. But silage can carry such amines as Histamine, Cadaverine, Putrescine, etc., which exert potentially harmful effects on the health and fertility of dairy cows, particularly by interfering with some of the mechanisms that control appetite – reducing intakes not only of the silage itself, but of the whole TMR.

Where this problem exists, it’s critically important to balance the diet with the correct antioxidants and anti-inflammatory elements, and to ensure that environmental stress factors are reduced.

This requires careful management of proteins, within the diet.  We have had much success with feeding specific Amino Acid supplements to improve blood flow.


If this is the case on your farm, we recommend RA25 Mycobind - contact Gareth on 01948 661602 for details

The often ignored section on our NIR silage analysis, includes lactic acid, and VFA (volatile fatty acid) content. However, these are probably the most important figures on the page, as the acidity will frequently represent the amount of conversion of soluble carbohydrate (sugars), its efficiency, and potential risk for factors such as yeast spoilage, and acidotic conditions.

High lactic acid in silage is not desirable; 35 years ago, when some lactic acid bacteria inoculants were first available, efficient conversion of low levels of grass sugars to help preserve the crop were desirable. Modern, sugar-rich grass leys, improved harvesting and ensilage, and clamp management, all mean that retention of the original nutrients is a preferable option to excessive lactic acid production. Where silages are > 90 g/Kg as lactic acid, it is probably necessary (as well as beneficial) to ensure that rations are formulated with slow fermenting carbohydrates, TMR alkalized, and buffers provided.

As yeasts (such as Hansenula and Torulopsis sp) can grow rapidly in highly lactic silages, producing heat, and thus the ideal conditions for moulds to follow on, it’s imperative that silage face management is exemplary. In warm, muggy weather, a minimum face should be exposed to air, plenty of weight needs to be on top of the exposed silage (to reduce the ingress of air, as it is the first whiff of oxygen that trigger the years growth), and blocks should be cut as tidily as possible.


The foundation of any good quality yielding herd, is only as good as the youngstock you replace into it.   It is vital that your herd’s next generation is fed correctly in order to be an asset to your business.  From weaning off milk or milk replacers – see the range of GP Feeds / Provimi products we sell over the page, all of your animals should continue to grow quickly in the most economical and profitable way. This must include checking their weight throughout their lives to ensure that target weights are being met. Failure to reach target weights will lead to small heifers at bulling, small heifers at calving and small heifers at the lactating stage.

To help maintain growth and health here at GP Feeds we have a range of products, whether it be a quality coarse calf mix to get a good foundation for replacement stock, maybe a heifer rearing nut or even an economical ration to keep them up to standard ready for exporting, we have something to suit all your needs.  These products, when fed alongside quality forage, will ensure that all aspects of growth patterns throughout the various stages of their young lives will be taken care of.


Extremely palatable mixture fed ad lib from 2 days to 10 or 12 weeks of age...

Contains: Barley, Protein Pellet, Sugarbeet, Molasses, Flaked Maize, Hipro Soya, Beans, Flaked Peas, Sopralin, Soya Hulls, Mins & Vits.


A specialist heifer replacement product to be fed from 10 or 12 weeks of age to calving.
Well balanced ration providing in excess of 1 – 1½ kilos LWG per day...

Contains: Distillers, Rapemeal, Sunflower, Sugarbeet, Hipro Soya, Maize, Barley, Wheat, Palm Kernal, Citrus, Molasses, Biscuitmeal, Mins & Vits.


Popular and cost effective alternative to our Supergro Heifer Rearing 20 Nuts, still providing excellent results and uniform growth. This product is suitable for all types of youngstock...

Contains: Wheat, Rapemeal, Wheatfeed, Soya Hulls, Palm Kernal, Molasses, Sunflower, Biscuitmeal, Sugarbeet, Mins & Vits.


Although primarily aimed at the beef market, the mineral pack can be change to suit the type of youngstock...

Contains: Wheat, Rapemeal, Wheatfeed, Soya Hulls, Palm Kernal, Molasses, Sunflower, Biscuitmeal, Sugarbeet, Mins & Vits.

We also have 2 specialist Beef Blends for quality Beef Returns –


Designed to be fed with own forages...

Contains: Barley, Protein Pellet, Wheatfeed, Soya Hulls, Molasses, Maize Gluten, Sugarbeet, Distillers, Citrus, Mins & Vits


Designed to be mixed with own cereals on farm...

Contains: Rapemeal, Wheatfeed, Palm Kernal, Soya Hulls, Distillers, Sugarbeet, Citrus, Molasses, Mins & Vits

As with all our feeds the ingredients have been carefully chosen for digestibility, with well-balanced starch and sugars and quality protein sources, along with FIXED FORMULATIONS.

Phone the office today on 01948 661602 to discuss your Youngstock needs.



Combining the reassurance of skim with excellent performance

  • Skim milk based
  • Highly and consistently digestible
  • All dairy protein
  • Promotes rapid early growth rates
  • Encourage early dry feed intake
  • Highly palatable
  • Carefully selected ingredients to aid digestibility in young calves

Ingredient information:

  • Contains a natural gut conditioning package to improve performance and health (NuStart)
  • Excellent mixability characteristics
  • Highly palatable and distinctive flavouring
  • Carefully selected ingredients to provide easily digestible protein and oil for young calves
  • Advanced trace element and vitamin package tailored to the requirements of rapidly developing calves


Strong performance in dairy and beef calves

  • Whey based milk powder
  • Moderate amounts of non-milk proteins
  • Enhanced early growth rate
  • Economic calf rearing

Ingredient information:

  • Contains a natural gut conditioning package to improve performance and health (NuStart)
  • Excellent mixability characteristics
  • Highly palatable and distinctive flavouring
  • Carefully selected ingredients to provide easily digestible protein and oil for young calves
  • Advanced trace element and vitamin package tailored to the requirements of rapidly developing calves


Should you be investing in an additive for your maize silage?

Are You Still Unsure Which Product To Choose?

Start With A Very Simple Question You Need To Answer?

Is significant reduction of heating, energy loss and waste, best achieved by treating maize with a bacterial additive or is a chemical preservative more likely to produce a reliable, consistent result???

The independent work including recent research from MGA and Kingshay shows that chemical preservative treatments, keep the silage cooler for longer and the effects are more consistent than bacterial treatments. Now make your choice!!!

Ecocorn is based on the most commonly used chemical food preservative Potassium Sorbate.

As you consider your options weather to us Ecocorn or not, there are 2 facts to take on board.

1. The Typical Dry Matter Loss from the maize silage process (from field to cow) is recognised as being at least 20%. These losses at 32% Dry Matter can be represented as follows

2. Recent figures put the value of maize in a ration at around £100/tonne of Dry Matter


Apply Ecocorn Double Action for conventional liquid or Dry application or Ecocorn Varicool for low volume application

  • Fill clamp with long ramp in thin layers
  • Roll continuously… no dual wheels
  • Only lengthen chop under 30% DM
  • With a late crop, chop under 1cm
  • Fill in one day or sheet at night
  • Apply Ecocorn with a focus on the top half
  • Use double top and enveloped side sheet
  • Use New Clamp Film under the black plastic
  • Top weight must be consistant

Ecocorn Treatment … The Facts and Figures from Independent Trials

  • You can reduce typical Energy Losses from £90 down to £45/acre so saving £45 /acre
  • You can increase Milk Yield By £90/acre (assuming: 8t/acre:25p/L:50/50maize,grass)
  • Cost of treatment £26/acre so a 5:1 return after product cost can be achieved

So give us a call on 01948 661602 for Ecocorn, Clampfilm or just for good advice.



To discuss any of these products, along with your other on farm requirements please call GP Feeds on 01948 661602 or use our text line number 07969 808188

Gareth or Rachel (Office)
01948 661602 Fax 01948 871776