22 May 1998

GRAZING TIME EATEN AWAY…

BUFFER feeding may leave dairy cows with not enough time to graze, according to earlier SAC research at Crichton Royal Farm.

"Eating and ruminating on the buffer feed means that cows may simply run out of time to maximise intake of grazed grass," says Arnoud Hameleers who heads research on buffer feeding.

Work in 1996 showed that spring calving cows fed 6kg of concentrates spent 502min a day grazing and 282min ruminating. A group on the same concentrate ration but also receiving buffer feed grazed for 425min and spent 429min ruminating.

For summer calvers, those on concentrates only spent 452min grazing and 430 ruminating while those also receiving a buffer grazed for only 374min but spent 530 ruminating.

The next year, when different buffers were tested and all groups were on the same level of concentrates, the pattern was repeated. Rumination time was increased due to buffer feeding and grazing time was significantly reduced.

In both spring and summer trials, maize silage buffer was eaten much faster than either high or low dry matter silage. In the August grazing trial, 132min a day was being spent eating low DM silage compared with 46min for maize silage.

Grazing and rumination times for those two groups were 363 and 566min and 521 and 440min respectively. &#42

BUFFER feeding may leave dairy cows with not enough time to graze, according to earlier SAC research at Crichton Royal Farm.

"Eating and ruminating on the buffer feed means that cows may simply run out of time to maximise intake of grazed grass," says Arnoud Hameleers who heads research on buffer feeding.

Work in 1996 showed that spring calving cows fed 6kg of concentrates spent 502min a day grazing and 282min ruminating. A group on the same concentrate ration but also receiving buffer feed grazed for 425min and spent 429min ruminating.

For summer calvers, those on concentrates only spent 452min grazing and 430 ruminating while those also receiving a buffer grazed for only 374min but spent 530 ruminating.

The next year, when different buffers were tested and all groups were on the same level of concentrates, the pattern was repeated. Rumination time was increased due to buffer feeding and grazing time was significantly reduced.

In both spring and summer trials, maize silage buffer was eaten much faster than either high or low dry matter silage. In the August grazing trial, 132min a day was being spent eating low DM silage compared with 46min for maize silage.

Grazing and rumination times for those two groups were 363 and 566min and 521 and 440min respectively. &#42

Dont forget to allow for the time a cow spends eating and ruminating buffer feed, says Arnoud Hameleers.