2017-06-19  

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Caustic Soda Shortage Drives Interest in Alkalisation

A scarcity of caustic soda, and what is available nearly doubling in price, is making alkalisation of home-grown cereals this harvest a ‘no brainer’ for ruminant livestock farmers.

“Many dairy and beef producers already prefer alkalisation to soda treatment of grain because the added value alkalisation process also harnesses ammonia release technology to boost ration protein, rather than simply making grain less acidic and easier to store. But even traditional mixed farms wedded to caustic soda treatment are now thinking twice after being asked to swallow a 75% to 100% price increase in this chemical commodity since January in some areas of the country,” says Rob Smith, UK general manager with FiveF Alka Limited.

The escalating price of caustic soda means Alkagrain offers UK cattle producers a highly cost-effective nutritional alternative to soda grain this year.

The escalating price of caustic soda means Alkagrain offers UK cattle producers a highly cost-effective nutritional alternative to soda grain this year.

Mr Smith says that farmers would be better advised to make Alkagrain, either at harvest or as required throughout the year. Alkagrain production involves crimping a dry, mature cereal crop to produce a stable, high energy/high protein feed that can cost-effectively replace bought-in concentrates.

“We have not increased the price of our Home n' Dry high protein pellets this season, which are added to the grain to produce Alkagrain. Addition of the pellets to the harvested grain aggressively releases ammonia into the material, giving long-term stability and raising the pH to the alkaline range. What’s more, the protein level rises – which is the big bonus – in addition to retaining the traditional benefits mirrored by soda treatment, such as improved fibre digestibility, storage stability and the production of a feed material that is unattractive to vermin,” he says.

Mr Smith says that with alkalisation you are, in effect, utilising cost-effective protein – which would normally have to be bought during the winter – to conserve and enhance the grain during storage. “And you can do all this without the need for bespoke equipment, specialist storing or drying,” he adds.

Fivef

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