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NWF Weekly Grass Watch

Average daily growth rates across GB have increased to 52.3kg DM/ha/day, which is closer to the growth rates seen for the same period last year, of 55kg DM/ha/day. However, growth rates are still significantly below the 6-year average of 65kg DM/ha/day.
Multiple regions saw significant increases in growth rates, with the East Midlands up 24kg DM/ha on the previous week to achieve 60kg DM/ha/day. With greater nitrate uptake in grass following rainfall and growth, crude protein levels have increased this week to an average of 21.3% DM. As a result, consideration should be given to the total level of protein supplementation in the diet for optimal nitrogen use efficiency in the rumen.

Milk Yield from Grazing (MYFG)

Average MYFG increased to M+13.7 litres/day, which is very close to the 6-year average of M+13.8 litres/day. The 2.4 litres/day increase can be attributed to the 1.8kg DM/day increase in potential dry matter intake from grazing.
There is, however, large variation in samples, with some indicating a potential negative MYFG figure due to reduced potential dry matter intake. For accuracy in rationing, farms should look to have pasture analysed with buffer feeding considered where dry matters are low and intakes compromised.

Potential Heat Stress

Increased temperature and humidity over the last week have resulted in an average temperature humidity index (THI) of 62, which is the lower limit for mild heat stress. Heat stress reduces dry matter intake and can impact on milk production, as well as increasing the risk of reduced butterfat levels and impaired reproductive functions.
With temperatures having the potential to be briefly above average in the coming weeks, it is important to begin to consider management practises that allow for a proactive response in mitigating the risk of heat stress:

• Access to clean and fresh drinking water
− To facilitate increased water intake, which allows animals to replace water lost through respiration and perspiration. Water consumption is also the quickest method for cattle to reduce their core temperatures
• Access to shade
− Shade reduces the solar heat load on the animals
• Adjust diets according to DMI reduction
− Increased energy density and ensuring there is enough effective fibre to maximise rumination

Pre-Cut NDF Tracker

The UK average NDF content has remained similar to the start of the week at 35.9% DM, indicating growing conditions have improved for many compared to previous weeks. There is still a large range from 27.3-46.5% DM NDF content, emphasising the need for individual farms to analyse to ensure they are within 38-40% DM for optimal first cuts.
While the average UK sugar content has fallen again, it still remains excellent at 15.5% DM. However, the lowest reported sugar levels were 8.9% DM, and any levels below 10% DM risks poor fermentation. Protein levels and nitrate levels remain similar to the first half of the week at 17.3% DM and 160mg/kg (fresh weight) respectively.
Trouw continue to encourage individual farms to analyse samples due to the unpredictable weather seen recently. By knowing the sugar content, free nitrates and NDF content, it will give a much better indication of silage quality and can avoid problems with poor fermentation.

For more information on maximising your homegrown forages potential, speak to our experts on 01829 797 125 or order NWF grass seed online HERE.

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