Premier Molasses Eco-Maize: Correct balancing of maize and whole-crop diets is essential this winter

Due to the adverse weather conditions of 2018, many livestock farmers are now facing this winter with a great deal of uncertainty. A recently conducted Teagasc survey revealed that 11% of farms are currently in a fodder deficit situation.

This however, is a vast improvement on the 28% that was reported last July. Improved grass-growing conditions, improvised harvesting of whole-crop forages and a large increase in the maize acreage have all contributed to this deficit reduction.

Although grass and most arable crops struggled in the summer drought of 2018, maize crops excelled in the dry conditions.

Further to this, excellent harvesting conditions – with the exception of the storm damaged crops – has resulted in maize entering forage clamps in some of the best conditions in recent times.

Early analysis is returning maize feeding values of excellent quality, with high starch and energy levels reported. Unfortunately, early accounts are not as good for whole-crop forages, with clamp analysis showing feed values of somewhat reduced quality to that of previous years.

These whole-crop results are possibly the consequence of the exceptionally dry conditions during the summer months and mirror the reduced grain yields that were reported at harvest time – especially for spring sown crops.

Traditionally used as a buffer feed in dairy herds and beef finishing units, both maize and whole-crop forages have been found to help maintain production levels while also reducing concentrate inputs.

This year, however, will see increased inclusion levels of both forages in ruminant diets, as the availability of conserved grass silage is very limited on many farms. Introducing these forages to ruminants should be done with a degree of caution however, as their high starch content can cause digestive upsets.

Good quality crops normally reflect starch levels of between 25-35%, giving an energy value of 0.8 UFL/kg of dry matter (DM), with lower value crops returning figures of 0.75 UFL/kg of DM and a starch content of 15-20%.

Containing low-protein levels (8-10%) and being deficient in a number of macrominerals (Ca, Mg, Na, and P), fed solely, these forages won’t meet the requirements of a number of categories of stock.

Premier Molasses Eco-Maize

Correct balancing for both protein and minerals is essential with these diets in order to maintain production levels, while also preventing any deficiencies which can affect overall animal and heard health.

With a crude protein (CP) content of over 35% on a DM basis, Eco-Maize is the perfect high-protein feed to supplement these deficient forages.

Eco-Maize’s fluid characteristics will not only aid in increasing the forages palatability, it will also improve the animals dry matter intake while helping to uniformly carry minerals throughout the total mixed ration (TMR).

Furthermore, Eco-Maize will also reduce (TMR) sorting while helping to increase the nutrient density of the diet.

In addition to these benefits, Eco-Maize will help improve the rumens eco-system while also increasing energy parturition within the animal.

Its versatility and palatability enable’s poorer quality forages to be both utilised and extended, which in a year of tight reserves, is an extremely valuable asset.

Sample Diets

Please find detailed below sample diets for these low-protein forages. Diets are formulated for weanlings, finishing beef animals and dry dairy cows in late gestation.

Diets for young stock at 300kg:

Energy values are based on predicted energy requirement for a 300-350kg crossbred continental animal gaining 0.6kg/day. The inclusion of a good maize/beet mineral is extremely important with these diets

Diets for 600kg+ finishing steers:

Energy values are based on predicted energy requirement for a 600kg + crossbred continental animal gaining 1-1.5kg/day. The inclusion of a good maize/beet mineral is extremely important with these diets

Diets for 600kg dry dairy cow, seven to eight months in-calf:

Energy values are based on predicted energy requirement for a 600kg dairy cow, 7-8 months in-calf. An energy deficit of 1.5UFL is tolerable, but only if the cow is in a body condition score of 3.0 or greater. Important to note that a good quality dry cow mineral should be added to the diet at least 6 weeks prior to calving 

More information can be found on the Premier Molasses website, or simply click here