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NWF Weekly Grass Watch – 6th May 2022

Grass Growth

This week’s grass growth has remained consistent at an average across GB of 60.1kg DM/ha/day. This is still higher than the same period last year which saw average growth rates of 52.4kg DM/ha/day. Regions that experienced the highest level of grass growth include Scotland and the Northeast at 68 DM/ha/day, respectively. This week the average UK NDF content has increased to 44%DM, which remains above the target of 38-40% DM.

Average sugar levels have decreased ever so slightly to 11.2% DM and crude protein levels and nitrate levels have also decreased slightly, averaging 19.5% DM and 217.2mg/kg (fresh weight), respectively.

Milk Yield from Grazing (MYFG)

  • Due to rises in potential DMI, the average MYFG for GB has risen to M+9.2 litres/day with the average range across the regions being between M+8.6 and M+12.9 litres/day.

Proactive Approach to Managing Heat Stress

Heat stress will reduce DMI, impact milk production by up to 15%, reduce butterfat levels and have a negative impact on reproductive functions. A proactive approach, implementing strategies to limit the risk is key, this includes:

  • Clean, fresh, accessible drinking water – water consumption is the quickest method for cattle to reduce their core temperature!
  • Access to shade – this reduces the solar heat load on your herd.
  • Adjust the diets according to decreased intakes – Increase the energy density and ensure effective fibre to maximise rumination.
  • Additives – there are many additives such as Lactibute which can aid the recovery response during heat stress.

Pre-cut NDF tracker

  • Average NDF content for the second half of this week has increased to 44% DM, which remains above the 38-40% DM target and is still higher than the 33.3% DM average NDF level reported at the same period in 2021.
  • Average sugar levels have decreased slightly to 11.2% DM for the second half of this week, although a range can still be seen from 6.7 to 17.7% DM. If sugars are below 10% DM an additive designed for low sugar forage is recommended to ensure quality fermentation.
  • This week crude protein and nitrate levels have decreased slightly, averaging 19.5% DM and 217.2mg/kg (fresh weight), respectively. The range in average nitrate levels across the regions has decreased slightly, however some samples have been at the maximum 2500mg/kg (fresh weight).
  • It is important to monitor nitrate levels to ensure they remain below the 2500mg/kg maximum target and ideally below 1000mg/kg. If grass is cut when free nitrates are too high then the effectiveness of fermentation is reduced leading to an unstable clamp and poorer quality, less palatable forage.

Source:  Trouw Nutrition

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