Lower protein silages
As well as lower fibre, many silages so far reported also have lower crude protein.
The average of samples to date is 14.6 per cent in the dry matter, but the range is wide, running from as little as 7.5 to 22.4 per cent, as published by Trouw Nutrition GB.
Ms Keep says: “This range highlights how essential it is to know your own forage protein, as it is critical to supplementation.” Sources of syrup are available to cattle and pig producers across the UK including Loch Lomond Gold, Sedagold and Trafford Syrup.
These are enriched with yeast fragments, which is known to enhance digestion, and deliver high protein and energy to the diet.
These syrups have a protein content ranging from 23 to 35 per cent crude protein on a dry matter basis and an ME value of between 14 and 14.5 MJ/kg DM.
Ms Keep says: “All of these liquid products increase palatability and enhance intakes.
They will help reduce dust and bind together the individual ingredients in a total mixed ration, reducing selective feeding.”
Maize and wholecrop silage
Although grass silage analysis is awaited with interest, all of this season’s forages will need to be considered in winter ration formulation.
While grass silages stabilise rapidly, maize and wholecrop silages will change their digestibility throughout clamp lifetime.
It is therefore essential that regular sampling of maize and wholecrop silages takes place to maintain the correct balance within farm diets.
Starch content in these silages can also vary greatly depending on the growing season.
To help balance the potential of this variable starch supply, high starch feeds are available including potato products, biscuit meal and bread.
All of these products are good sources of highly fermentable energy which will increase the energy density of any diet.
The protein content of maize and wholecrop silages are generally low and can be supplemented by the inclusion of cost-effective protein based co-products.
Benefits of co-products
All rations must be formulated to the requirements of the individual farm needs including dry matter, protein and energy content.
Maximising full utilisation of home-grown forages is always essential but especially so at a time such as currently, when the cost of bought-in dry feeds is high.
Moist co-products offer many benefits including supporting the palatability of rations and enhancing both protein and energy content.
By improving the structural fibre of the ration, this can also have added health benefits.
“All of this can have a positive impact on broader aspects of health and performance.
And with an added cost benefit, when compared with mainstream feedstuffs, co-products can also have a positive impact on a farm’s profitability.”