Preserving grain at harvest is a task that must be carried out correctly. The right product application can result in many benefits, providing an excellent means of storing grain and improving the performance of the animal when you feed that grain.

KERVA is a new additive on the market from Inform Nutrition. When you use KERVA to treat grain, it increases the pH of the grain. This increase in pH rapidly kills off yeasts and moulds, which if not killed off will cause the grain to heat and spoil.

It can be used to treat barley, wheat and oats at harvest time from 14% to 22% moisture content.

The treatment process involves covering the grain with polythene and it takes two weeks for the treatment process to complete.

After this period is over the grain can be moved or fed. Grain can be rolled or crimped and treated or treated whole. However, if treated whole it must be rolled before feeding.

Grain can be treated and stored outdoors in good conditions under polythene. KERVA-treated grain can be stored from harvest to harvest if stored in good conditions.

Benefits of using KERVA

In feed KERVA-treated grain has a number of significant benefits. Beef cattle fed grain treated with KERVA grain have higher intakes, better growth rates and fat scores.

KERVA preserves the grain by increasing the pH. This increase in pH has significant benefits for rumen function particularly on high concentrate or high grain diets.

Acidosis and laminitis are significant issues affecting animal performance in the finishing phase. When animals get lame they spend more time lying down and feed intake is significantly affected. Lameness is also a significant welfare issue for the individual animal affected.

Feed intake is key to improving all facets of dairy production. Animals fed KERVA-treated grains have shown improved feed intake, milk production, solids and fats, as well as improved condition during lactation and improved fertility.

Again, acidosis is a significant issue in dairy cows. There has been a marked increase in picas (example cows eating stones and clay) with research indicating a significant cause of these pica’s is acidosis.

Acidosis even at sub-clinical levels will reduce butter fat levels, feed intake and body condition score. Loss of body condition score during the breeding season can affect fertility. KERVA-treated grains are ideal to use in a buffer feed or as part of a concentrate ration.

The treatment process increases the protein content of the grain (by 30% approximately) reducing the need to purchase expensive proteins.

KERVA can be added at harvest via a diet feeder if treating whole grains. However, most farmers crimp the grain at harvest time and KERVA can be added through the crimper.

Benefits of feeding KERVA to the animal:

Increased feed intake;
Improved performance and profit;
Reduced risk of laminitis and acidosis and healthier animals;
Can feed higher levels of grain and concentrate for a faster finish and better fat score.

Benefits of using KERVA for the farmer:

Grains are easier to treat;
Reduces the requirement for purchased proteins;
Reduced fermentation losses or waste (compared to crimping);
Longer shelf life in storage (compared to other grain treatments);
Cost-effective method of storage.

For further information contact your regional KERVA advisor:

Sam Sweetnam, Munster: 086-0437153;
Liam Lacey, Leinster: 086-7702570;
Kevin Conroy, Connacht: 083-1591892.