Unbalanced nutrients could cut farm milk values this summer

Farmers must focus on balancing nutrients in grazed grass this summer in order to prevent milk fat drops and price cuts, experts are warning.

Failing to balance nutrients could result in milk fat content drops of 0.25% and milk price cuts of 0.4-0.6ppl, says KW nutritionist Mark Scott.

See also: Grazing strategy helps Cheshire dairy farmer make more from grass

“Defra figures show national herd butterfats dropping from just under 4.10% pre-turnout to 3.80-3.85% by July in each of the last two years. That’s a potential loss of around £1,000 a month for a 200-cow herd averaging 27-28 litres a cow,” he says.

High levels of rumen degradable protein (RDP) in summer grass can also lower milk yields by 1-3 litres a cow as energy is needed to excrete the excess protein, explains Mr Scott.

To maintain butterfats he recommends feeding 1-2kg of hay or baled silage, or partially replacing cereals with soya hulls or sugar beet.

And to balance grass RDP, Mr Scott advises adding liquid feeds to supply sugars that drive rumen fermentation, while also improving palatability and intakes.