How to maximise cattle output from forage this winter
Forage is the cheapest available feed for cattle with grazed grass capable of sustaining good levels of animal performance even in the late autumn period.
But grazed grass and silage provide an inconsistent source of nutrients and without a balanced nutrient intake, feed digestion and animal performance will suffer.
There is every indication that silage stocks will come under pressure this winter. This is a direct consequence of the bad weather and poor grass growing conditions experienced in many parts of Ireland throughout the summer and early months of 2016.
It is also important for farmers to plan their winter feeding programmes now: leaving this to the last minute can lead to unnecessary stress as the season progresses – and extra costs – as ad hoc decisions taken to secure additional forage stocks can turn out to be very hit and miss in nature.
Meanwhile, producers will be striving to ensure that they maximise the performance levels achieved by their animals.
Given this backdrop, Crystalyx Cattle Booster can play a key role on all Irish cattle farms this winter.
The product never replaces forage – it complements and balances it, so the rumen bugs digest the forage faster and with improved efficiency.
This can allow for increased forage intakes and, in all cases, leads to improved animal performance.
A weanling will typically consume 100-150g/day of Crystalyx Cattle Booster at grass or indoors on silage.
This approach will serve to increase growth rates by around 4kg per animal per month over forage-only-fed animals.
Moreover, these animals finish faster and in the case of breeding heifers, they will reach service weight earlier.
Always feed at least two tubs of Cattle Booster per group to reduce the risk of bullying.
As a guide: two x 80kg Tublyx will last 40 yearlings approximately 30 days while two x 22.5kg Minitubs will last 20 yearlings approximately 15 days.
Cattle Booster will support up to 2L of milk above what may be expected from grass alone.
Again, always feed at least 2 tubs per group to reduce the risk of bullying. As a rule of thumb, two x 80kg Tublyx will last 40 cows approximately 22 days while two x 22.5kg Minitubs will last 20 cows approximately 12 days.
Breeding bulls need high energy and enhanced mineral uptake at grass and indoors to maintain peak performance and fertility.
A mature bull will consume approx 200-300g/day depending on breed and forage quality.
In the vast majority of trials completed, Cattle Booster has doubled the investment for farmers, courtesy of extra growth and performance achieved.
Trials have confirmed improved pregnancy and conception rates with breeding heifers offered Cattle Booster, compared to animals on forage-only diets.
Up to 100% conception rates were achieved in the Cattle Booster groups.
In addition, the heifers offered Cattle Booster were shown to have been mated by the bulls, on average, four days earlier than the control animals. Earlier conception and an earlier calving will pave the way for bigger calves at weaning.