Prioritising silage reserves spring 2018

The spring of 2018 will be a challenging one for many stock farmers. Forage reserves are extremely depleted on many farms, with this problem more acute along our western coast. Additionally, a high proportion of the available forage is returning dry matter digestibility (DMD) values of 66% and below, as excessive rain delayed crop harvesting dates, thus, reducing grass quality entering the clap which compromised forage preservation.    

In many areas farmers have already being purchasing straights, liquid feeds, compound feeds, root crops or forages for a number of months to help stretch home saved feed supplies. However, even with these firefighting measures feed stocks in yards are still running dangerously low. Prioritising forage reserves towards younger stock and moving forward fattening animals to an ad-lib meal diet could be one option to help alleviate pressure on what are already depleted supplies.    

Introducing a simple three to four way ration containing energy, protein and a fibre source with added minerals would complement the forage and be an ideal supplement for young farm stock. Adding molasses or a molasses based liquid feed to this diet would also be hugely beneficial, not only would the liquid feed increase the palatability of the overall diet, it would also act as an additional energy source. Furthermore, molasses blends with their high protein content can help increase dietary protein levels which is an important constituent for younger growing animals who are laying down large amounts of muscle and bone.     

(Detailed below are diets for weanlings based on 64-66% DMD grass silage)

Diet Specification Diet A Diet B
Grass Silage 66% DMD --- 3.7 kg/DM
Grass Silage 64% DMD 3.5   kg/DM ---
Rolled Barley 1.3 kg/DM 1.3 kg/DM
Soya Bean Meal --- 0.3   kg/DM
Nutri Thrive Molasses 0.5 kg/DM ---
Sugar Cane Molasses --- 0.5   kg/DM
Maize Distillers Grains 0.4 kg/DM ---
Energy Requirements 4.5-5.0 UFL 4.5-5.0 UFL
Energy Intake 4.8 UFL 5.0 UFL
Protein Requirements 13-14 % 13-14 %
Protein Intake 13.3% 13.6%

Diets are formulated for 300kg continental and continental cross animals gaining 0.6 kg per day. Always important to add a good general purpose mineral to all diets @ 20g per 100kg bodyweight.