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Livestock producers looking to make the most of grazed forage can increase intake and digestion by 10 percent when supplementing pastures with a nutrient-rich Rumevite block, says Dr Alison Bond, nutritionist for Rumenco.

“Supplying a balanced combination of nutrient-rich ingredients, the blocks stimulate the rumen to work harder by fuelling and increasing the rumen bug population. Supplementing forage in this way results in up to a 10 percent improvement in forage intake and digestion,” explains Dr Bond.

Livestock performance increases

In multiple trials, Rumenco’s free access supplement blocks show an increase in forage intakes and digestion which has been proven to have significant impacts on livestock performance.

In a study of 156 head of store cattle on five different farms, livestock supplemented with Rumevite Cattle Booster had a 25kg liveweight gain advantage over the course of 105 days compared to the control group. Performance advantages carried through into the finishing period, with supplemented cattle maintaining the 25kg weight increase and therefore finishing 28 days ahead of the control group.

“When valuing liveweight gain at £2.00/kg, the margin over feed cost for supplementing grazing stock with Rumevite Cattle Booster was £137.36/head, compared to £109.00/head for the group that did not receive the Rumevite. The un-supplemented cattle required feed for an additional 28 days, costing an additional £36.55/head in extra concentrate and silage costs,” explains Dr Bond.

Similar results have been seen in finishing lambs in a study at Plumpton College in Sussex. Despite having a 300g disadvantage to the control group at the start of the study, lambs supplemented with Rumevite Quality Lamb had a daily liveweight gain of 189g, which resulted in a 36.7kg liveweight at 45 days to slaughter. The control group only gained 94.3g/day, finishing in 83 days at 36.3kgs.

“Not only did supplemented lambs have greater daily liveweight gains at grass and finish 38 days sooner, but they also achieved greater carcase grades than the control group,” says Dr Bond.

For producers looking to improve ewe fertility, trials have found Rumevite Sheep Super, which contains Fish Oil, increases scanning percentages by up to 22% when fed in the eight weeks prior to tupping and then continued for an additional six weeks into the tupping period.

“This increase in scanning percentages is through the reduction of barren ewes, and not due to an influx of multiples,” says Dr Bond. “The formulation helps ewes reach optimal body condition ahead of tupping, encouraging ovulation – both of which lead to more ewes holding service in the first cycle.” 

How to supplement

Unlike concentrates, free access forage supplements allow for little and often feeding, which results in less pH variation in the rumen. Because stock can have 24/7 access to the blocks, it is a great way to reduce bullying at the trough, adds Dr Bond. They are also convenient, significantly reducing the amount of time it takes to feed.

With a product range consisting of eight different blocks, Rumevite supplementation can be tailored to suit livestock nutritional requirements at any point during the grazing or housing period. Available in a circular block form, Rumenco has recently updated the product line to include a new 14-inch block, which maintains the same weight, 22.5kg, as the original 19-inch block and is easier to handle and supplied with containers that eliminate product wastage.   

“Along with helping to meet livestock energy requirements and increasing forage utilisation, supplementing with Rumevite has other additional benefits. The inclusion of a full range of minerals, vitamins and trace elements further supports overall animal health and performance,” explains Dr Bond. “The new 14-inch blocks also contain Phytotec, an all-natural blend of plant extracts and fermentation products to support feed conversion, robust rumen health and production.”

To budget for intakes, cattle will consume 300-500g/head/day and growing cattle will consume 200-300g/head/day. Ewes can be expected to take 100-250g/head/day while lambs will consume 100-150g/head/day. While the Rumevite blocks are weatherproof, they should be placed in a special container with drainage to avoid wastage. They should also be positioned away from any waterways.

Overcoming a dry spring

According to Dr Bond, free access supplement blocks are ideal for this year’s late summer and autumn grazing due to the dry weather’s impact of forage growth and quality.

“The extremely dry weather we’ve had at the beginning of the summer has really taken a toll on forage production. Supplementing with Rumevite will not only nourish rumen microbes to improve forage utilisation and digestibility, but its high energy and protein content will help meet livestock nutrient requirements,” concludes Dr Bond. “The Rumevite range also contains daily requirements of minerals, vitamins and trace elements to boost livestock performance while supporting immunity, health and fertility.”