As we know, grass can be a very cost-effective feed. It is a good source of rumen degradable protein, highly fermentable carbohydrates, and sugars, so making the most of it can not only help the bottom line but maintain animal performance. However, there are some challenges when cows are at grass.
Grass has high levels of oil which can “coat” the fibre in the diet, decrease acetate production and subsequently reduce butterfats. It is also low in structural fibre and high in fermentable sugars, which can result in a drop in rumen pH, increasing the risk of acidosis. Consistency is also another challenge, in both quality and intake. Moisture, ground conditions and overall grassland management will all influence this.
What can be done?
Feeding cows is all about balance, making the most of home-grown forage by providing the correct supplements. In this case, compounds. NWF Agriculture has a comprehensive range of summer dairy diets formulated to suit a range of systems and performance goals.
Aside from compound feeds, optimising rumen conditions when cows are at grass is key to maximising performance. Having a balanced ration, alongside availability of feed, feed space and buffer supplementation will all help optimise the rumen.QQ
To help enhance rumen performance, particularly at grass, NWF Opti Rumen is available. NWF Opti Rumen is a blend of essential oils and spices which aim to optimise rumen performance. It can be important for balancing excess rumen fermentable protein, helps to buffer the rumen, increase butterfats and can help reduce SCC and milk ureas.
For further information on NWF Agriculture’s Summer Dairy Diets or Supplementation, contact your local NWF Sales Specialist, or call 0800 756 2787.