26 September 1997

Cereals nowrolled into one

CEREAL inclusion rates in rations can be increased by feeding a combination of both rolled and caustic treated wheat or barley.

According to Keenans Donald Brown, most producers think they must choose either caustic treated or rolled cereals.

"Thats not the case – both can be fed together successfully."

Caustic treated and rolled cereals break down at different speeds in the rumen, hence the ability to increase inclusion rates.

"Rolled cereals breakdown quite rapidly, and even faster when ground as there is more surface area for the rumen bacteria to work on. This fast breakdown can cause acidosis, which is why inclusion rates of rolled cereals are limited to 3-4kg/day."

Cereals which are caustic treated have only their husk burnt off, and are slower to break down in the rumen. Maximum inclusion rate of caustic treated cereals in dairy rations is usually 6kg/head/day, said Mr Brown.

"However, mixing rolled and caustic cereals means there is a combination of breakdown times in the rumen. This means cereal inclusion rates could be as high as 8-9kg/head/day for high yielders."