The long spell of cold weather across many parts of Britain has
delayed grass growth this spring. But once temperatures increase
it will be 'catch-up time', according to SCA NuTec ruminant nutritionist
"Nature deals with keeping to its timescales by making up
for lost time," says Dr Richards. "So as soil temperature
increases, grass will grow rapidly and it will take up a lot of
the available nitrogen. This flurry of activity will result in
fresh spring grass with a higher than average protein content."
Although the warmer temperatures will be welcome, the high protein
of this year's spring grass could bring its share of problems. "Cows
will move from conserved forage with around 13% crude protein to
grazed grass, which this year could easily have in the region of
25% and even up to 30%," adds Dr Richards.
The crude protein in grass is very quickly and easily available
in the rumen and, unless it is 'slowed down' and used, a large
proportion will pass through the rumen wall as ammonia. Not only
is this a waste of protein, but the ammonia is toxic and has a
negative effect on dairy cow fertility - to the tune of a 35% reduction
in embryo production and survival.
"Higher crude protein in spring grass is a problem each spring
- but this year more so, and we would advise producers to act now.
It is possible to capture some of this protein - results from SCA
NuTec trials have shown a 15.5% increase in capture of protein
in the rumen."
The trials involved using Amino ProTek, a sugar mineral complex
that works by specifically binding to the protein in the rumen.
It therefore reduces the amount of protein wasted and, as a result,
more protein passes into the small intestine where it is available
for milk production.
"Trial results monitoring cows at grass have shown a 1.5
to 2.0 litre a day increase in milk production when Amino Pro-Tek
was included in the diet. And the sums stack up. Using Amino ProTek
to generate an average 1.8 litre increase in milk, worth more than
30p based on average milk price, costs around 8p a day.
"Apart from the favourable increase in income, health benefits
from lower blood ammonia and milk ureas can also be gained from
including Amino ProTek, especially at turnout and in a year like
element supplementation improves productivity of land
Surplus Lambs a Chance
Against Wet Straw In Lambing Sheds