7 November 1997

Check that your compounds are value for money

By FWlivestock reporters

LIVESTOCK farmers should pay more attention than usual this year to the declared ingredients of purchased concentrates or blends.

The high cost of the best sources of degradable protein will encourage compounders to substitute cheaper lower quality ingredients, according to Welsh-based ADAS nutritionist David Peers.

Quality protein feeds such as soya, linseed and groundnut which are high in by-pass protein are more expensive this year, he warns

Beware feeds with only 2-3% soya and most protein coming from rapeseed, sunflower, distillery and oil-seed by-products and cottonseed, he advises.

Axient nutritionist Andrew Marlow is also concerned that compounds or blends containing inferior proteins, such as oilseeds, increase fibre content of diets and reduce levels of fermentable energy.

"Most dairy producers feeding grass silage and parlour concentrate have plenty of fibre in the diet and, except for high yielders, protein is less critical. What is missing is FME."

He analysed two dairy compounds for a client, both with the same ME, but the cheaper cake supplied one unit less FME. For someone feeding 10kg a head a day of parlour concentrate that difference is two litres of milk a day, he says. "It is quite an eye opener."

Independent dairy consultant Mike Tame also advises looking at ingredients lists carefully to ensure compounds are good value. Sunflower is low in energy, he warns.

"High yielders need good quality concentrates which do not include much sunflower." But it may be suitable for lower yielders.

The low FME level in sunflower, for example, would not be a concern when balanced with a reasonable cereal content, he explains.

"Also check that rapeseed is double zero type, and that you know which raw materials are being used. When in any doubt ask about the origin of materials and check their energy values."

Some cheaper dairy cow compounds also include urea, says Dr Peers. It is a valuable rumen degradable protein to balance maize or cereal silages. But it is toxic when overfed and is of no benefit when fed with grass silage, or to high yielders, which need high quality by-pass protein.

Ewes also need quality protein in the last three weeks of pregnancy to produce enough colostrum and milk, he says. "Avoid compounds with protein supplied from rapeseed and sunflower because they have no quality protein source."

Compounds with distillers products and cottonseed are better in quality, and linseed is better still. When soya is included it must be above 5%. When it is listed below minerals it will be below 2%, he warns.

COMPOUND CHECKS

&#8226 Full % ingredient declaration.

&#8226 Are protein sources and degradability suitable for performance required?

&#8226 Is there sufficient FME?

&#8226 Are you getting value for money?

COMPOUND CHECKS

&#8226 Full % ingredient declaration.

&#8226 Are protein sources and degradability suitable?

&#8226 Is there sufficient FME?