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How to maintain dairy rumen health with co-product feeds

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Duynie Feed offers a sustainable result: a better financial result for your business, combined with a positive contribution to circular agriculture. With Duynie Feed all of that and more is possible!

With spring officially upon us, the nation’s dairy herds will soon leave the sheds and return to the fields.

Transitioning from indoor to outdoor rations makes this a time when careful feeding is a top priority. The value of fresh spring grass needs to be supported by a well-planned buffer ration to maintain rumen health and butterfat levels.

Duynie’s co-product feeds provide a sustainable and effective way of achieving these goals whilst providing benefits in terms of cost and productivity.

As it is high in energy but low in fibre, early grass ferments more quickly in the rumen and rapidly passes through the system.

The result? Compromised butterfat production and a risk of acidosis caused by upset rumen pH. In the longer term, a high-sugar/low-fibre diet can lead to loss of body condition and suppressed fertility.

Buffer feeding is the tried-and-tested way to meet the triple challenge of maintaining body condition, supporting fertility and producing quality milk.

It works by balancing RDP (rumen degradable protein, from grass) with DUP (digestible undegraded protein, from supplementary feeds such as brewers grains).

Getting buffer feeding right also decreases the risk of grass staggers by facilitating mineral intake. And in seasonal conditions – such as wet weather – where grass intake might fluctuate, buffer feeding makes up essential nutrients.

In the face of current spiraling commodity prices, co-products are a compelling and obvious alternative to dry straights and compounds and can help farmers save money through the spring and summer months.

For comparative costs, see the M+30l rations in the table below.

Comparative feed costs

 

Grazing with compound

Grazing with moist feeds

Limited grazing with compound

Limited grazing with moist feeds

Feed (kg)

 

Grazing grass

80.0

60.0

30.0

30.0

Grass silage

0.0

10.0

18.0

18.0

Maize silage

0.0

10.0

14.0

14.0

16% Parlour compound

6.0

2.0

0.0

0.0

20% Parlour compound

0.0

0.0

6.0

3.0

Brewers grains

0.0

4.0

0.0

7.0

Citrus pulp

0.0

4.0

0.0

5.0

 

DMI (kg)

19.7

19.8

19.4

19.5

DM (%)

22.9

22.0

28.5

25.3

CP (%DM)

20.2

17.5

17.1

16.6

M/D (MJ/KgDM)

12.1

11.8

11.9

11.8

NDF (%DM)

39.5

43.9

41.5

45.6

Starch and sugars (%DM)

17.0

13.6

17.4

14.6

Total cost of ration

£2.55

£2.09

£2.94

£2.46

All figures are shown in fresh weight unless stated otherwise

Contrary to conjecture, brewers grains will not necessarily deplete or reduce butter fats, in fact when well balanced with other co-products, fat content can be maintained or even increased.

In the first example, compound and grazing (which can be of variable quality) is reduced.

Co-products such as brewers grains and citrus pulp (alternatively sugar beet pellets or soya hulls) are added, providing fermentable fibre and good-quality protein to protect butterfats and reduce excess nitrogen excretion.

This saves 1.5 pence per litre in feed costs. The same amount can be saved with a regime of limited grazing supplemented by co-products rather than compound.

As this principle works with all forage or homegrown feed, it can be applied to deliver an effective, balanced ration on any farm.

Hands holding Duynie Feed

Duynie’s co-product feeds help to maintain rumen health and butterfat levels © Duynie Feed

Duynie also offers a ready to feed, well balanced moist compound replacer with a choice of co-products that will ensure dry matter intake is maximized and butter fat is maintained as well as reducing concentrate costs.

Duynie moist blend range is produced by utilizing a range of co-products, helping to promote circular agriculture.

As we leave lockdowns behind and the country starts to reopen, availability of co-products will increase substantially.

Now’s a prime time for farmers to switch to cost-effective, consistent and reliable co-product feeds that promote herd health and maximize productivity.

Watch the video below to find out more about Duynie Group.