Dairy farmers have been advised to increase fermentable sugars to 6-7% in their early to mid-lactation rations to support optimum rumen fermentation, according to research from the United States.

KW nutritionist Mark Scott says many UK forage-based rations typically contain only 3-4% sugars (on a DM basis) and the higher recommended levels can only be achieved by adding extra sugars. “One of the most cost-effective options this winter is to use a high-protein molasses blend as an alternative to rapemeal,” he adds.

Replacing 1.75kg freshweight of rapemeal, with 2kg freshweight of ReguPro 38 and an extra 0.25kg FW hi-pro soya bean meal to balance rumen-bypass protein supply, is one example of how to boost ration sugar levels by two percentage points for as little as 5p a cow a day, says Mr Scott.

Mr Scott says this helps to kick-start rumen fermentation by supplying more rapidly available energy. “You also get the usual liquid feed benefits of improved palatability, higher intakes and reduced ration sorting,” he adds.

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