Grazed grass isn’t always the perfect feed
With grass growth rates now having peaked and herbage quality on the decline, livestock farmers have been reminded of the benefits to be gained from supplementary feeding stock over the coming weeks.
“The fundamental driver for livestock producers is to maximise daily liveweight gains at grass,” explained Caltech Crystalyx’s David Morgan.
“Yes grazed grass is the cheapest forage available to stock in Northern Ireland. But when offered as the sole source of feed, it will always be nutritionally imbalanced. For example, fresh grass contains excessive levels of protein with energy levels wholly dependent on the weather on a day-to-day basis. Mineral and vitamin and levels contained within grass will also fluctuate, again depending on the weather and the effect this will have on plants’ ability to absorb these nutrients from the soil.
Where breeding cows and heifers are concerned we now know that excessive protein levels in the diet will lead to reduced levels of fertility. So the traditional practice of letting replacement heifers graze an out farm in the company of a bull is by no means the most effective and quickest way of getting these animals in calf.
David went on to point out that providing cattle with an additional energy source while at grass is the most effective way of securing optimal growth rates.
“Offering meal is an option in this regard, however, this approach requires the cattle to be fed on a daily basis: it is also expensive,” he commented.
“Alternatively, farm trials have confirmed that providing stock with access to Caltech Crystalyx Cattle Booster buckets can help improve daily live weight gains by up to 24.6%.”
As David also explained, the days are long gone when young stock can be allowed to tick on at their own pace, simply by letting them out into a field at the start of the grazing season.
“The absolute need to get beef cattle away before they reach 30 months of age and the growing awareness within the sector to have heifers calving at 24 months have seen to this. However, the good news is that by supplementing grazed grass with the Caltech Crystalyx Cattle Booster product will allow stock achieve these targets with a minimum of fuss and cost.”