22 November 1996

Low-price potatoes can slash your ration costs

By Emma Penny

LOW prices mean potatoes are a worthwhile supplement, and could cut the cost of rations this winter.

Thats according to Signet consultant Geoff Fish. "In East Anglia, potatoes for feeding stock are trading at about £10/t and sometimes even less.

"They can be used to reduce ration costs at a replacement rate of 4-4.5kg potatoes for every kg of cereal. However, the maximum fed to cattle should be 15-20kg – equivalent to 3-4kg cereal."

For producers finishing bulls or steers, he suggests replacing about half the cereal ration with potatoes, again to a maximum of 15-20kg potatoes.

"Cattle fed more than that do not seem to do as well. Potatoes are fairly wet and will go through them quickly. Its best to provide a balance of potatoes and cereals or concentrate."

Sheep will also benefit from potatoes, says SAC sheep specialist John Vipond. "Pregnant ewes and finishing lambs can be fed up to 1.8kg of potatoes a day. Feeding any more may cause scour."

He suggests that in rations for pregnant ewes fed hay, 1.8kg of potatoes could replace 0.8kg of an 18% crude protein concentrate. The potatoes should be fed with 0.3kg of a 50:50 mix of soyabean meal and rolled barley, or similar amount of maize gluten or low copper distillers dark grains.

Pregnant ewes and finishing lambs can be fed up to 1.8kg of potatoes a day, says

John Vipond.



&#8226 Feed 15-20kg maximum to cattle.

&#8226 Maximum of 1.8kg fed to sheep.

&#8226 Feed a balanced diet.