27 November 1998

Dont just go for cheap compound

SHEEP compound prices are low this year, but producers should be wary of low-priced feeds of poor quality.

So says Signet consultant Maurice Jones. "Buy a reputable feed from a reputable company and dont necessarily go for the cheapest.

"Relying on a cheap, sub-standard ration may mean ewes lose condition and have less milk. Making the most of milk is essential as its the cheapest and best lamb creep feed."

The first step is to analyse forage, he says. Most feed companies do this for free. "Then, find out whats in compound feed so you know what type of proteins are being used.

"Remember, feed companies change their mixes depending on straight prices, so the proportions of straights in your feed may change."

SAC sheep specialist John Vipond says there are some abysmal forages that have poor digestibility and low energy values. "Producers must have these analysed soon and decide what ewe intake levels will be."