Have you ever considered how well your cattle’s diet is performing? Is it being utilised as efficiently as possible?

Feed represents up to 70% of beef and dairy production costs. If feed is not being utilised efficiently by the animal, it not only can be a considerable cost but can also lead to less milk produced in dairy cows or reduced weight gain in beef cattle.

Carrying out a simple digestion analysis, also called manure sieving, can provide information on how well the animals’ feed is being utilised while helping to identify the amount of undigested feed passing through the animal.

Finding a lot of grains or large fibre particles in the manure can indicate that the feed is not being retained in the rumen for an adequate amount of time or that it is not fully utilised while there.

The digestion analysis can provide information on rumen health or how well your cattle are digesting the diet. It can also help diagnose areas for improvement in both ration formulation and the management of the herd.

What happens in a digestion analysis test?

The digestion analyser is a stack of three sieves with increasingly smaller holes from top to bottom. The following steps can be completed with an Alltech specialist.

1. Assess

Collect samples of manure from the herd and place them in the manure sieve. Carry out a feed utilisation test on these samples, separate the sieves and examine the particles in each. Finally, evaluate the results.

Guidelines on how to carry out a manure sieve can be seen in the images below.

2. Act

Based on the feed utilisation results from the digestion analysis and the particles left at each level on the manure sieve, an Alltech specialist will review the existing diet and make recommendations, from management advice to diet reformulation.

All recommendations can be compared nutritionally and by cost. The benefit to the farmer is better utilisation of the diet, resulting in better performance from essentially the same feed.

3. Reassess

After two weeks of implementing the recommended advice, Alltech will re-evaluate feed utilisation with a second digestion analysis test. With feed costs representing up to 70% of beef and dairy production costs, knowing your animals’ diet is performing is essential to maximising profitability.

Alltech solutions are proven to help beef cattle achieve a higher health status and optimise feed use, resulting in increased and efficient weight gain. Optigen® provides a consistent supply of protein in the rumen, helping increase feed utilisation, creating more energy for performance and reducing overall costs.

Why not see for yourself?

Alltech nutritionists are offering a free on-farm digestion analysis, assessing diet utilisation and its effect on animal performance.

Alltech’s team of technical representatives, based throughout Ireland, are available to discuss each of these areas with you further.

If you are interested in seeing if Alltech can help you, complete the form at this link to organise your free on-farm digestion analysis.