23 November 2001

High sugar grass converts protein

CONVERSION of protein from fresh grass to milk is usually poor, but high sugar grasses improve it, said IGER researcher Jon Moorby.

Ryegrasses fed to cows in a recent trial had an average sugar content of 23.6% compared with 15.2% for conventional grasses.

Protein contents were low at about 10% because grass was unfertilised to maximise its sugar content for the trial. "Intake of cows in early lactation was increased with high sugar grass. But for mid and late lactation animals there was no difference.

"Milk yields rose by 2.7 litres/ day for late lactation animals, but there was no increase for early and mid lactation cows. This shows the response relates to improved protein use, not increased grass intake." &#42