RECENT trials carried out in the UK, Germany and New Zealand have confirmed that diets comprising a combination of quality forage and Cattle Booster, from Caltech Crystalyx, will help ensure that replacement dairy heifers meet all of their growth targets, calving down successfully at 24 months.
“The key driver of the diet must be quality grazed grass and silage,” added David Morgan (pictured) from Caltech Crystalyx.
“Cattle Booster can be offered from weaning onwards. The feeding rate is 120g/head/day.”
Caltech Crystalyx will have a major presence at this year’s Royal Ulster Winter Fair.
David is also aware that silage quality has been compromised on many farms this year, given the incessant wet weather throughout the late summer and autumn months.
He said: “Feeding weanling and store cattle this winter will be a significant challenge on many farms.
“Both silage quantities and quality are much lower than would normally be expected. And these problems become more acute the further north and west one travels,” he added.
“The lower the quality of silage, the lower the intake and the slower the growth rates achieved by young stock. This can get into a negative scenario when feeding forages with a Dry Matter Digestibility of 54, or lower, if offered without supplements.”
Morgan confirmed that late cut silages have low energy and protein values, both of which contribute to lower voluntary intakes.
“The mineral content of mature silage is also reduced because there is more stem and less leaf,” he said.
“All minerals are affected but phosphorus is of greatest concern. Mineral supplementation is therefore necessary.
“Proteins in the silage are usually adequate for wintered cattle but in very poor samples the level could be below 10 per cent and some supplementation may be necessary.
“Analysis of the year’s silages is, therefore, critical due to the wide variation and the fact many are of a poor quality.”
Independent university research shows the introduction of Crystalyx Cattle Booster will increase the dry matter intake of forage and improve the digestibility of that forage, whatever the quality.
“Cattle Booster acts to boost microbe numbers in the rumen,” said Morgan.
“In turn this helps improve the digestibility of the silage on offer, whatever the quality.
Typical intake levels of Cattle Booster are 250 gm /h/d, but can be higher as the cattle initially settle.
Morgan is advising farmers facing forage shortages this winter to assess the quantities of fodder available to them immediately.
“If stocks are inadequate then the decision to buy-in additional fodder should be taken now. As a minimum, ensure that weanlings are fed adlib on forage plus Cattle Booster. This will keep them growing during the winter on a healthy and low cost diet.
“Cattle Booster also provides all the minerals, trace elements and vitamins needed to balance grass, which is essential for optimum animal performance and health.”
He concluded: “Licking Cattle Booster blocks stimulates saliva production to help buffer wet acidic silages.
“In addition, feeding Crystalyx helps stimulate the rumen bugs to work a little harder and with greater efficiency so they digest whatever forage is available with increased effectiveness.
“This effect can also be discerned in those situations where low silage stocks have to be supplemented with straw.”
Caltech Crystalyx has a major presence at this year’s Royal Ulster Winter Fair.