Cracking good idea to follow dairy men

20 October 2000




Cracking good idea to follow dairy men

BEEF producers should follow their dairy colleagues and start looking at more efficient ways of harvesting grain to feed to cattle.

Basil Lowman, SACs beef expert, told open day visitors that advances in forage harvester technology, with the addition of rollers to crack grain as it was harvested, offered the beef industry the chance of simplicity and reduced costs when it came to processing and feeding.

"These machines with crackers been around only for about two years, and 90% of their output has gone down the throats of dairy cows.

"We believe there is a big advantage here for the beef industry and we are now starting trials to try and quantify it."

Donald Dunbar, farm manager at SACs Easter Howgate unit, said that a contractor had been used to harvest wheat using a Claas 600 series forage harvester. The machine had teethed rollers added to process the grain as it was harvested.

"In the past, you got unprocessed grain going through the forager, and if that wasnt treated before feeding to cattle, the grain passed right through the animals.

"So by adding these teethed rollers to the Claas forage harvester you can get round this problem and the grain can be processed in the field at the same time as the crop is cut."

Whole-crop wheat was cut, and will be analysed as a ration for store cattle. The cutter table was then raised to cut only the top six inches of the crop, and this will be used as an intensive finishing diet.

Colin Morgan, an SAC nutritionist, added that while most whole-crop wheat silage is cut early, when it yields only 80-90% of its potential, the aim of the trial was to leave wheat in the field to maturity, thus maximising yield and aiming for a feed with about 70% dry matter as opposed to the normal 30-40% DM of traditional whole-crop wheat.

To get round the problem of more mature grain being harder and to combat the fact that whole-crop wheat silage is not very stable once it is open to the air, Biotal additive was being tried.

"It has enzymes to break down fibre and give better energy value and digestibility, but it also has bacteria which stop growth of yeast when silage is open to the air.

"So what we have here is something with a higher feed value, higher dry matter, and with good stability when open to the air," he said.

FORAGE FOR BEEF

&#8226 Harvesting technology.

&#8226 Can now crack corn.

&#8226 Better nutritional value.

FORAGEFORBEEF

&#8226 Harvesting technology.

&#8226 Can now crack corn.

&#8226 Better nutritional value.

Look at more efficient ways of harvesting grain to feed cattle, says Basil Lowman.


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