uANY nutrition queries relating to feeding sheep can be answered by a freephone service run by ADAS on MAFFs behalf. Callers will be directed to their most local sheep consultant, and can receive advice on forage and concentrate quality, feed rates and other aspects of sheep nutrition. Contact (01902-693437).
uCONTROLLING rats in pig arks is causing a particular problem for outdoor producers, according to Cotswold. The area between the two skins of pig arks which contain insulation provides a comfortable bed for rats where they are well protected from predators and have easy access to food and water. But finding a suitable control method is difficult, as introducing poison close to arks puts pigs at risk, it says. The company is seeking solutions from producers on how rats can be controlled.
uLUPINS could provide a home-grown protein alternative to soya following further experiments at IGER Aberystwyth. Results from last year show that lupins can yield 8t DM/ha over 16 weeks with a protein content of up to 20%. This year lupins at the institute will be ensiled and fed to cattle and sheep.
uDISCUSSIONS are to continue into the possibility of setting up a mobile slaughterhouse in the M4 corridor. A MAFF grant has helped to establish the project, and further funding is being sought to employ a project officer to confirm the commercial viability of the proposal. A decision on whether to build the unit will be made later this year, says the Humane Slaughter Association.
uADDING vitamin E to beef cattle rations could help meat keep its red colour for longer, making it more attractive to consumers. Research at Bristol University, funded by the MLC, MAFF and other industry sponsors found that feeding vitamin E increases the stability of meat colour, so it remains red for up to four days longer. Reduced losses could be worth £4-£5 more an animal to the meat supply chain, researchers believe.
uCOWS which have received less concentrates than usual in March to reduce milk output and avoid super-levy payments could be at risk from staggers, warns FSL Bells. Although calcined magnesite is the most commonly used magnesium source, it is not easily absorbed when cows are on a diet including lush, nitrogen-rich grass, it says. Feeding molasses blends which contain the mineral is a more effective way of ensuring adequate absorption, it adds. *