2018 FORAGE CRISIS
- A long wet winter has depleted on farm forage stocks
- A slow start to this year’s grass growing season has resulted in smaller First Cut Grass Crops(although quality is good)
- The extended dry weather has caused a dramatic reduction in grass growth being recorded
- Weather Outlook set to remain dry with only light showers forecast for July
- Grass growth rates unlikely to recover in the short to medium term
IMPACT ON COW HEALTH & PERFORMANCE
- Grazed grass Dry Matters are much higher than normal (increased to 28% DM from 16% DM)
- Check Water Availability
- Grazing cows likely to require significantly more Buffer feed to maintain good rumen function; yields and Body Condition
- Check Rumen fill on your cows to make sure they are eating enough
- Check Forage Stocks and plan feed requirements now! Waiting is only likely to increase the costs and severity of the diet change at a later date
- Measure Forage Stocks and determine requirements
Graph of Average GB Grass Growth Rates
The below graph shows the red shaded area being larger than the green shaded area, the reduced grass growth against last year can be clearly seen Until significant rain fall is received future grass growth rates are likely to be closer to zero.
HOW CAN HJ LEA OAKES HELP?
Please contact your representative if you would like help budgeting your forage requirements or further information on our Quick Fix products:
Offers an alternative to arable silages in TMRs. Can be fed up to 6kg per head to Dairy Cows. Likely to be cost effective against all moist feed alternatives of comparable feed value. Available for delivery with your other bulk feeds in 5 – 29t lots, blown or tipped
A nutritionally enhanced Oatfeed product. Excellent source of digestible fibre which can be fed in a TMR or down a barrier. Up to 6kg per head; Ideal protein level for balancing Grass. Available for delivery with your other bulk feeds in 5 – 29t lots, blown or tipped
A cost effective fibre source for including in TMRs and cost effective alternative to straw (also requires no chopping). Can be used in Dry Cow diets; young stock diets when mixed with some grass silage. Available in Artics Tipped or Walking floor loads only.
Other options to explore:
Source a wheat crop which can be clamped as Whole Crop or Alkalage – check your crop’s maturity for the best choice Switch your youngstock to straw or oat husk based diets to preserve available grass and silage for milking cows.