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Stackyard News May 08

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Rich Pickings to be Had if Cows can Max on Grass

After a late start to the grass growing season dairy cows now have a plentiful supply - more than they can cope with in many cases. “And many producers are finding that cows are failing to make the most of the rich spring grass,” says national ruminant nutritionist at James and Son Sion Richards.

Dr Sion Richards, national nutritionist James and Son

Dr Sion Richards, national nutritionist James and Son

“It makes sense to improve the situation as grazed grass is the most cost-effective feed available - and this is more relevant than ever as producers face increased feed costs of around 30%. Producers need to complement the grass and take pressure off relying on silage. A ration that will maximize the high protein and energy contents of spring grass is a good starting point. Blends of co-products can do a good job here,” adds Dr Richards.

Blends of co-products can achieve this very successfully with specific low protein formulations to balance high proteins in grass and with high starch contents that promote rumen bacteria activity. This encourages the bacteria to capture more protein and sugar from grass so increasing grazing efficiency, yet still providing plenty of fibre to help maintain butterfat at grass.

“The icing on the cake with co-product blends specifically developed for this job, like the Graze Max range, is their significantly lower cost than conventional compound feed – we have seen feed costs reduce by 30% on some units.”

James and Son’s new Graze Max range include a moist, dry and nutty mix blend to suit feeding systems. All include Loch Lomond Gold, a concentrate liquid from the distiller at Loch Lomond that is high in starch, energy and protein. Also included in all three rations is FP Cereal, a 70% starch and sugar product that is a blend of cooked breakfast cereal and boiled sweets to give a very energy-rich, high starch product. The dry and moist blends include shredded wheat. Shredded Wheat is highly digestible and can replace wheat at 0.9kg for every 1kg fed.

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