4 August 1995

Now, in-depth additive assessment

UK LIVESTOCK producers will know for what job a particular forage additive has been approved for the first time in November.

This is when FARMERS WEEKLY, in association with the United Kingdom Agricultural Supply Trade Association (UKASTA), will publish the third register of app-roved products for the UK Forage Additives Approval Scheme.

The scheme was launched two years ago to provide the UK with its own voluntary system of assessing and approving forage additives. It is being introduced in stages to allow technical experts time to prepare dossiers on trial results needed to justify approval of additives for relevant categories.

For this reason producers have, up until now, known only which products are approved. But information on which products meet the three different categories of app-roval in the scheme will be published in FARMERS WEEKLY this autumn.

The categories comprise silage quality (fermentation, aerobic stability, effluent and ensiling losses), feed intake and efficiency of nutrient utilisation, or animal performance.

"Such approval should take the mystery out of the forage additive market and help farmer users select products for their specific needs," says Derek Ward, manager of UKASTAs plant health, fertiliser, and forage additives division.

The approval scheme is managed by UKASTAs forage additive committee and open to both UKASTA members and non-members. To gain approval products must be registered with UKASTA and trial data submitted for assessment by a team of experts from ADAS, the Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) and the Department of Agriculture, Northern Ireland (DANI).

Additives submitted for app-raisal which do not achieve significant gains over a no-additive control will be deleted from the list.

"The approval scheme is expensive to operate but UKASTA makes no profit from the exercise," says Mr Ward. For example, before an additive gains approval for the least expensive category, such as improved fermentation, it could cost its manufacturer over £10,000.

"But very few additives are not registered under the scheme," says Mr Ward. He believes this indicates very comprehensive support by the industry, the recognition that product efficacy is a good thing, and the desire to have all available products scrutinised.

Most of the established products are approved, and "own-label" products have gained approval through the submissions made by their makers.

"Out of 107 products on the list, 50 were approved in November 1994, and many more will be approved by category this year," says Mr Ward.