Game chang­ing rationing this win­ter

Irish Examiner - Farming - - AGRI ADVERTISING FEATURE -

As pro­duc­ers take stock of for­age sup­plies, Cargill’s Ru­mi­nant Tech­ni­cal Man­ager, Philip In­gram be­lieves that this win­ter’s ra­tion plan­ning will be game-chang­ing, rather than the more typ­i­cal fine­tun­ing.

Dr In­gram states that it’s go­ing to be a mixed bag of for­age, both in terms of type and qual­ity and re­duced fod­der stocks will force many changes. Many beef and dairy di­ets are set to in­clude higher lev­els of con­cen­trates and co-prod­ucts, and this brings with it, a risk of ru­men aci­do­sis and re­duced per­for­mance.

Dr In­gram states that the strate­gic use of ap­pro­pri­ate ru­men buf­fer feed­ing will play a valu­able role in dairy and in­ten­sive beef di­ets this win­ter. The im­por­tance of


The amount of fi­bre in the silage is ex­pressed as neu­tral de­ter­gent fi­bre (NDF) and ranges from 45-70%.

A good silage (72% DMD) feed­ing the cor­rect level of buf­fer to ad­e­quately buf­fer the ru­men ph is cru­cial. Ru­men mi­crobes need a sta­ble ru­men ph of 6.2-6.5 but if this be­comes much more acidic, they be­come much less ef­fec­tive – there­fore nour­ish­ing the an­i­mal less ef­fec­tively and se­ri­ously af­fect­ing pro­duc­tion. Small lev­els of buf­fer – such as 50 grams - are usu­ally not enough to ef­fec­tively buf­fer the ru­men ph in larger ru­mi­nant an­i­mals such as fin­ish­ing beef cat­tle or dairy cows, es­pe­cially if the acid load is high in the ru­men. Equaliser is a slow re­lease buf­fer, fed to dairy and beef an­i­mals. Ac­cord­ing to Dr In­gram, “Equaliser ru­men buf­fer has been tried and tested on Ir­ish and other Eu­ro­pean farms over the past num­ber of years. Equaliser has proven in tri­als to have

would have an NDF of 4550%. As NDF in­creases in­take de­creases.

The silage anal­y­sis re­port will often give guide­line sup­ple­men­ta­tion ad­vice a buffer­ing ca­pac­ity over 2.6 times that of sodium bi­car­bon­ate.”

Cargill has mod­i­fied its Equaliser ru­men buf­fer range this au­tumn to bet­ter cope with the cur­rent beef and dairy di­ets in Ire­land. One new ad­di­tion is Equaliser Plus which has been specif­i­cally de­signed for pow­er­ful buffer­ing and im­proved starch util­i­sa­tion with the in­clu­sion of live yeast.

Dr In­gram warns pro­duc­ers not to shy away from us­ing ad­di­tives, but to look at their ben­e­fits verses in­creased ra­tion costs. “The real con­sid­er­a­tion is in­come over feed cost. A bal­anced diet this win­ter is cru­cial take care to bal­ance nu­tri­ents such as starch, sug­ars and rapidly degrad­able pro­tein” says Dr In­gram. based on the silage an­a­lysed. This is help­ful in de­cid­ing if an­i­mals re­quire con­cen­trate sup­ple­men­ta­tion and how much.

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