Use grass more wisely

19 February 1999

Use grass more wisely

SHEEP producers could do more to make best use of grass.

"Grass is the cheapest feed available and, although its use varies between systems, there is room for improvement on many farms," SAC adviser Louise Roger told a meeting in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

"Maintain soil fertility, manage the sward to prolong its life but recognise when it has reached its sell by date, take advantage of new varieties, time fertiliser inputs carefully, and recognise when feeding is needed to supplement grass."

Mobilising body reserves could cut feed costs when ewes begin lambing in good condition. But she warned that weight loss provided only energy, and protein supplementation would still be required.

"This system demands grouping ewes according to condition. Dont expect the same level of performance if all ewes are treated the same," said Ms Roger. SAC forage analysis this winter suggest many are poor and concentrate supplements should be balanced accordingly.

Savings could be made by home-mixing straights but many producers are put off by the time needed for this, she said. Liquid feeds like pot ale syrup and molasses were advocated as good buys to top up feeds for lean or triplet bearing ewes on lowground farms.

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