27 September 1996

Vital to win trust of milk consumer

IMPROVED communication between farmers and the public is the key to the future security of the dairy industry.

That was the message of CEDARs Prof David Beever, at a Spotlight on Profit forum.

He said the future might hold higher feed prices, increased environmental and welfare legislation, a greater need to manipulate milk quality and perhaps lower milk prices. It was vital then that to control the conditions in the cows rumen and produce milk cheaply.

"We must research production aids that could bring improved cost efficiency and carify to a wary general public the effects, benefits and costs of a range of performance enhancers."

The only way this could be done was within the framework of a nationally directed research process that would win the trust of the consumer.

ADDING molasses to silage rations can save between 5p and 10p a head a day.

So claimed Paul Chatterton of molasses feed specialists Intermol.

"Sugar levels in rations must be maintained to promote effective rumen function and high dry matter intakes.

"Sugars supplied by molasses replace those fermented out of the silage so improving the action of the rumen microflora, improving digestion and improving dry matter intakes.

"For cow yielding 20 litres a day grass silage based ration costs could be cut by 5p a head and by 10p for maize silage rations," he said.

MILK producers should be more open minded about ration formulation or they will miss opportunities to cut ration costs.

"For example," said Dave Forster of KW Alternative feeds, "too many dairy producers look to cereals to provide starch in rations and overlook options such as processed bread.

"This is richer in energy offering 73% starch, and unlike cereals is already processed – cutting time and effort and energy costs by over 10%."

He advised producers to keep up-to-date with what was available and assess alternatives to traditional feed sources.