11 August 1995

By-product mix used to stretch scarce forage

By Jessica Buss

STOCK farmers unable to buy brewers grains and Tunnelgold to stretch forage stocks, now have a new alternative in a mix of by-products available from KW Alternative Feeds.

Its Succulent 35 feed analyses at 35% dry matter (DM), 20% crude protein (DM basis) and 11.7MJ/kg ME. It costs £43-47/t delivered and can be fed to dairy cows, youngstock and beef cattle, says KW.

One farmer who is using the feed as a forage alternative is Wilts-based dairy farmer Brian Pickford. He has had no grass to graze since June for his 100-cow herd at Newnton Farm, Malmesbury.

This year it took both first-cut and second-cut silage to fill the silage clamp. Second-cut is normally made into big bales.

"Now is the time to do something about the forage shortage," says Mr Pickford. "By January the situation may be much worse, so we are using as little silage as possible while the milk price is high."

KWs Succulent 35 is being fed to all milking cows at 15kg a cow a day. It is mixed on the floor with straw and peas using his JCB loader, then put in the trough with second-cut silage.

Compared with brewers grains, the Succulent 35 handles better, is more palatable, and produces little waste or effluent, says Mr Pickford.

Also using the feed to stretch forage stocks is Alan Bennett, Wootton-Under-Edge, Glos. He has fed his 115-cow dairy herd on Succulent 35 and maize silage since June. His cows find it palatable, clean up the trough well, and yields have been good all summer, he maintains.

Cows calved less than 200 days are fed a total mixed ration of 15kg/cow of Succulent 35, 15kg/cow of 32% DM maize silage and 6kg of a soya, rape and maize meal pre-mix.

"The cows are going out for exercise but there is no grass," says Mr Bennett.

Due to the shortage of grass, stale milkers are offered moist feed with maize silage and straw, and youngstock are also fed the feed with straw.

One load contained carrots and the loads vary slightly in colour, but no problems have been caused by the changes in the feed ingredients, claims Mr Bennett.

&#8226 Brewers grains.

&#8226 Distillery and refinery by-products and syrups.

&#8226 Vegetable waste, potatoes and root crops.

&#8226 Fibre products and maize fibres.

&#8226 Cereal and fermentation by-products.

&#8226 Dried straights.

&#8226 Forages.

&#8226 3.5kg said to supply the same amount of energy as 5kg of fresh brewers grains.

&#8226 3kg said to supply same amount of energy as 5kg of a typical grass silage (22% DM, 10.7 ME).

Cows at Newnton Farm have had no grass to graze since June and are being offered Succulent 35 in addition to second-cut silage.