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With early first cut silage analyses suggesting 2019 conserved grass forages are relatively high in fibre and low in fermentable carbohydrates, FiveF Alka is urging UK dairy and beef farmers to consider alkalisation of ration-balancing cereals.

“Early silage analyses and feedback from farmers suggests that although grass in the clamp is typically well fermented, lignin levels are considerably higher than last year. Many farmers we speak to are certainly already concerned about forage quality and are worried that cow diets may not perform as well this coming winter unless they can effectively balance fermentable energy and protein in the ration,” says FiveF Alka general manager Rob Smith.

Many nutritional advisers are already suggesting that dairy farmers will need to feed more concentrates this winter to balance low quality 2019 silages, but Mr Smith says that extra starch must be fed safely to avoid the risk of acidosis.

“If you need to feed more fermentable carbohydrate from cereals, we always advise dairy and beef farmers particularly to alkalise it so that consumption can be maximised without compromising rumen function,” he says.

“For example, alkalising bought-in or home-grown cereals for feed this harvest offers ruminant livestock farmers a proven route to lower winter ration costs, as well as the DIY means to produce a high-quality diet with excellent intake characteristics.

“We have a versatile range of options to ensure excess acids in the diet are quickly turned into ammonium salts, which are then metabolised as a highly effective rumen degradable energy and protein source. This improves rumen function, as well as helping to reduce the requirement for high protein, costly feed ingredients such as soya and rape meal,” Mr Smith adds.

Farmers interested in alkalisation should contact FiveF Alka for further information or visit the company’s stand (Concourse TB9) at UK Dairy Day in September.