Ration feeding now helps prevent condition loss

UK - Despite the autumn flush of grass, winter feeding rations for dairy and beef heifers should be considered now, before stocks get low and animals lose condition.
calendar icon 17 October 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
Knowing what forage stocks you have on farm and the growth rates you wish to achieve is a priority, according to Kingshay technical specialist Martin Yeates.

"Analysing silage will establish what you have in terms of quality and quantity," says Mr Yeates. "Weighing or measuring heifers at six months will ascertain what animals require in terms of feed."

And with many having to resort to silage-free rations, substitutes should be considered carefully. "High quality straw is the usual alternative, alongside treated straw fed with liquid molasses or pot ale syrup, depending what is available locally," he adds.

First-cut silage should be nutritionally analysed due to varied harvesting times, explains Mr Yeates. "Silage may be high in fibre and bulk, but subsequently low in metabolisable energy.

"So as not to compromise heifer growth rates, rations should, ideally, be designed to maintain and improve condition and not cut to save forage stocks," he warns.

Source: fwi.co.uk
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