Stock farmers urged to secure sufficient winter feed

Livestock farmers are being urged to think ahead and plan feed supplies for both the rest of the winter and into next spring if supplies of key feed ingredients are to be secured.

According to Trident’s Alistair Jackson, the recent rise in demand for pressed sugar beet pulp to balance increased cereal use is indicative of the trend, and adequate supplies should be secured and clamped as soon as possible.

“At the moment, availability of key digestible fibre sources like pressed pulp is good, but demand is unlikely to tail off any time soon, and there’s still the normal spring buffer feed requirements to consider, balancing low-fibre, high-protein grazing. The only way to ensure you’ve got access to enough pressed pulp to see you right through to the summer is to ensile and store what you need now.”

The additional palatability that ensiled pressed pulp brings to the ration has been of particular interest this season, helping to counter the effects of generally lower quality silages. And with silage clamp space now becoming available on many farms, clamping pressed pulp makes a lot of sense.

Pressed pulp can be ensiled easily anywhere with a sound concrete base, and many people are using large square straw bales and silage sheeting to create effective temporary clamps to one side of an emptying silage clamp. These are stacked to around 4-6ft high, compressed and then sealed and sheeted like silage.

“In fact, some producers are ensiling many hundreds of tonnes of pressed pulp into dedicated clamps and treating this in the same way as grass silage using tractors and rakes to compress. The result is a stable store of high-energy, highly palatable source of digestible fibre that can be stored for up to six months,” adds Mr Jackson.