MORE ACCURATE RATIONING CAN HELP DRIVE MARGINS AND COW HEALTH

Crediton Millings Ruminant Nutritionist Pete Davis explains that they are using a new rationing system which more accurately predicts how a diet will perform in the rumen and means they can help their customers to improve cow health and make better use of forage.

“To optimise milk production, the rumen has to work efficiently.  The key to this is to have sufficient numbers of the right types of bugs, that are working hard, producing the volatile fatty acids required by the cow. To do this they need energy, with both the type and quantity of energy being important. As we work with our farmers to improve on farm performance, we need to be optimising rumen function and therefore producing even greater feed efficiencies and healthy cows for our farmers.”

Trouw Nutrition GB’s new Rumenac rationing model allows diets to be formulated using the latest research on raw material and forage degradability in the rumen, and allows Crediton Millings technical team to look more closely at the ration and to for example determine how much of  the starch and sugars are rapidly fermentable. Too much rapidly fermentable starch may damage rumen health by causing acidosis, while slower fermentation can enable improved rumen function.  The trick is getting the balance right, as two diets can seem very similar unless a closer look at the rates of ingredient degradation/absorption is taken.

Reducing Feed Costs

Matt Rance, CMC forage & nutrition specialist elaborates on the potential acidosis affect.  “If we look at maize silage we need to consider how much starch there is and also how degradable it is.  A 35% starch silage with a starch degradability of 50% means there are 175g of starch available in the rumen per kg fed, whereas for a 35% starch crop with a starch degradability 75%, 262.5g grams of starch will be available in the rumen per kg fed.”

Pete continues, “This difference is significant and if we don’t react to it, the risk to the cow will be significant depending on the ingredients in the rest of the diet.  Our business at Crediton Milling is built on relationships and our customers trust us to work with them to find ways to make practical and realistic suggestions that allow their businesses to be more efficient and profitable. Rumenac lets us identify differences in their diet ingredients so that we can keep the rumen healthy, their cows productive and fertile, with the potential to reduce feed costs too.”

Pete Davis