Game changing rationing this winter
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.