Help boost feeding value of silage this winter

Early reports from this feeding season suggest that silages may not be feeding as well as they should.

While cows are eating well and intakes are good, the benefits are not being seen in the bulk milk tank, says Provimi ruminant product manager Philip Ingram. “Typically the nutritional tweaks are not giving cows the spark they need to get the milk flowing,” he says.

He says the problem in many cases is that cows are not getting as much energy from their forage as expected. Forages typically contain 45-55% fibre of which only about half is digestible and available for milk production.

“There’s a lot of potential – in the form of energy – that still lies untapped within forage. It’s likely that this year fibre digestion is low, and if it can be improved then the extra energy released could top up requirements and help improve yields in a profitable and efficient way.”

The variable silage quality and lack of performance makes this an ideal year to include a digestion enhancer for dairy cows in the ration, says Dr Ingram.

“Including the natural additive Amaferm into diets helps unlock extra energy from the fibre portion of the diet. It provides specific rumen microbes with the nutrients they require to accelerate and increase fibre digestion. The increase in the energy available from the cow’s feed translates into an increase in milk production. Trials have found it can increase milk yields by 4.8% or 1.4litres,” he says.