Balance compounds with spring grass for optimal efficiencies

Selecting the correct compound to complement grazed grass can help optimise feeding efficiencies, milk contract requirements and environmental impact this spring.

That’s why Mole Valley Farmers has designed a range of compounds to complement a variety of grazing and production systems as part of our spring dairy focus.

Getting cows out to grass is one of the highlights of the year for many, and no more so than this season when input costs are so high. However, it is important to be aware of the following when reintroducing grazed grass to the diet:

Is rumen protein too high?

Early grass has a high crude protein content. Rumen degradable protein (RDP) is often higher than animal requirement. As a result, there’s an extra nutritional cost for the animal to recycle this excess protein (as ammonia). Milk urea assessment can act as a guide for RDP imbalance.

Is the energy source optimal for your requirements?

High-yielding cows cannot satisfy their energy requirements from grazing alone. The question is whether to choose a starch or fibre source for extra energy. Generally, energy from a starch source, such as barley, will help drive milk protein, whilst energy from a fibre based source, like sugar beet pulp will drive milk fat. Optimal energy supply to the rumen will also boost microbial protein formation, therefore utilising grass composition fully.

Is the protein type optimal for your requirements?

Grass intakes can be improved by selecting the optimum protein type. Protected soya is the most cost-effective source of DUP (digestible undegradable protein) and feeding it at grass can increase grass intakes and milk yield. Its use can prove particularly beneficial and cost effective in high yielding herds.

Measuring protein efficiency?

Protein efficiency is the relationship between protein output and protein input. A higher protein efficiency indicates protein is being utilised well and is not being wasted. As farmers face increasing pressure regarding the environment and protein prices reach high levels, a measure of protein efficiency will become more critical. Selecting the correct compound to match the current grass type throughout the grazing season can improve protein efficiency.

Mole Valley Farmers has a selection of compounds to complement different spring grazing systems:

Low cost - PNG Advantage 16

  • A combination of palatable energy, protein and fibre sources as a fully mineralised feed designed to drive milk yield, milk protein and milk fat

Starch Based Cakes - PNG Supreme 16 and PNG Grazer 12 & 14

  • A range of high starch, high energy, fully mineralised feeds designed to maximise milk protein and yield. They’re designed to balance all stages of grass growth or forage quality, providing optimal, cost effective fueling of the rumen. There are three protein and starch levels to choose from.

Fibre Based Cakes - PNG Optimiser First 16, PNG First 16, PNG Cream Gold 16

  • A range of high digestible fibre, fully mineralised feeds at 16% protein, increasing in energy designed to maximise milk fat production when feeding cows on a wide range of grass-based feeding system.

Climate Positive Impact Feeds - PNG CP Impact Gold 16,PNG CP Impact Advantage 16, PNG CP Impact Starch 16, PNG CP Impact HDF 16

  • Our Winter Climate Positive range, four low carbon footprint feeds, are now available at a higher magnesium level suitable for spring/summer feeding. These products contain no soya or palm kernel. Their low protein level helps reduce nitrogen excretion and nitrous oxide production, which is a potent greenhouse gas. The low carbon footprint helps reduce ration carbon footprint, one of the biggest areas of concern on the farm.

Management tips for this spring

Maximising production from forage is essential whatever the year, but escalating feed and input costs mean optimising forage production has never been more important. Think about:

  • Soil testing to measure lime and nutrient reserves
  • Measuring sward composition
  • Doing a forage budget - what are your requirements versus supply
  • Where soil pH needs addressing, consider applying lime or Calciprill to grassland - doing so could improve fertiliser response by 50%
  • Timing your fertiliser applications to get the best response - the response to nitrogen is twice as much in the spring
  • Ways to improve grassland: Perennial ryegrass is four times more responsive to N than Rough Stalked Meadow Grass

The Mole Valley Farmers team can provide advice on spring grassland management and how to optimise fertiliser use. Contact The Arable Line for more information 01769 576232

For more information on the wide range of products available from our spring dairy focus,
contact the Feed and Nutritionists Line on 01278 444829