15 November 1996

Straw just as

good as silage

STRAW feeding has proved a successful alternative to silage for ewes at ADAS Rosemaund.

That was according to Dennis Chapple, senior research consultant at Rosemaund, speaking at the conference at St Asaph, Clywd, north Wales.

"Feed bills and stocking rate have a great influence on profitability. Straw has the advantage of being a low cost arable by-product on our Herefordshire unit, and releases grassland for other uses."

As long as it was clean, bright, and mould free, it was accepted by ewes, though they took some time to adapt to it, he warned.

"Straw should be introduced eight weeks before lambing," Mr Chapple told the conference. "Quality is more important than type, so good wheat straw is better than poor barley straw. And although trials show that ammonia treatment improves feeding value, its not enough to cover the cost.

"Straw feeding allows the stocking rate to be increased from 15 to 22 ewes a hectare, but at higher stocking rates it is very important to use a coccidiostat."n

Straw feeding ewes has been successful at ADAS Rosemaund, said researcher Dennis Chapple.