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NWF Weekly Grass Watch

A drop in grass growth has been seen, -12kg DM/ha/day, compared to last week to average 40kg DM/ha/day. The highest growth rates of 65kg DM/ha/day, a 10kg DM/ha/day decrease compared to last week’s data, was seen in Scotland. The lowest growth figures of 28kg DM/ha/day was seen in the South East, a 9kg DM/ha/day decrease to last week. The largest decreased in growth was in the East, of -27kg DM/ha/day.

With the forecasted rain over the coming days, it is expected that grass growth rates will improve and has the potential to bring the second challenge of increased grass staggers risk. Therefore, it is important to consider Mg supplementation to mitigate this.

Supplementation can be achieved through:
• Compound
• Mineral supplementation (in feed and free access)
• Mg bolus
• Bucket licks
• Mg in water

There is a slight increase in potential MYFG compared to last week’s data (+0.69), to average M+13.59 litres/day. Compared to this time last year, this figure is 1.31 litres/day less, though it is closer to the 6-year average of M+13.67 litres/day. This increase can be a result of the increase in potential DM intake of 12.64kg/day versus 12.22 kg/day. The highest was seen in the North West at M+24.9 litres per day while Wales and the West saw the lowest at M+11.9 litres/day. *Caution must be taken when interpreting these MYFG figures as 60% of these came from Wales and the West and no samples were received from the East.

Butterfat Factors
The risk of butterfat depression remains high with low fibre index at 178, which can implicate rumination and salivary buffering. Further increasing the risk of a drop in rumen pH, thus increasing the risk of butterfat depression is the high the acid loading (at 40) and the high levels of RFC are at 189g/kg DM.

The best management for butterfat depression is prevention which can be achieved through:
• Feeding fibrous forages and straw to promote rumination, to stimulate salivation and subsequent rumen conditions.
• Supplying live yeast cultures to optimize rumen function, improving the fibre digestibility as well as helping to optimize rumen pH.
• The addition of rumen buffers to help promote a thriving rumen microflora and fermentation. This will also help minimize wide fluctuations in rumen pH; improving fibre digestion, VFA-acetate: propionate ration for enhancing DMI, milk fat percentages and overall milk yield.

Source: Trouw Nutrition GB

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