21 November 1997

FIFTH AND BEST REGISTER

Welcome to the fifth register of the UKASTA Forage Additive Approvals Scheme, which details how additives have performed under scientific trials. Although crop-specific information in the additive recommendations has been put on hold for at least one year (see below), the comprehensive lists continue to provide the best independent guide to forage additives. And, with the monitoring scheme run by ADAS, farmers should have every confidence that the additives listed match their specification when used on farm.

Indeed, the standard of FAAS approved biological additives, as used by the farmer, has increased dramatically in recent years as a result of the extra attention given to storage. Products now being sampled are bang on – although care is still needed when storing and buying products. And it will, of course, pay to purchase additives from a reputable source.

Knowing that youre getting good value for money from your additive will be particularly important given pressure on margins in all sectors. And theres more good news, too.

Latest research at the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research has shown that a new generation of activated inoculants is able to protect protein in silage. It does this by reducing pH very rapidly; the result is a massive increase in animal intakes and performance. Its certainly exciting technology that could have huge benefits at farm level. Also of interest from IGER is a new device for in-field evaluation of the dry matter, sugar and nitrate content of grass which should make it easier to determine whether or not an additive is needed.

So armed with an up-to-date list of approved additives, and with on-going research likely to deliver inoculants which will improve animal production further still, producers can look forward to being able to maximise performance from high quality conserved forages.