A tip for stretching winter animal feed

The weather has a massive impact on animal feed. It can make it very difficult to make silage. Hot dry weather interspersed with showers can cause a lot of problems. For example, it can limit chances to mow and leave grass lying for days. Most importantly, the conditions can have a big impact on nutrient value and digestibility. It may mean that many bales have lower feed value than livestock producers want.

Unfortunately, the situation may make it challenging this winter, especially for cattle. It may put pressure on stocks and make more farmers use their reserves and forage. However, there is one thing that could provide a suitable alternative. We want to have a look at it here.

Molasses and straw

The recommendation is that farmers can use a mix of straw and molasses as a substitute. Normally straw is not a good option because it is low in protein. It is also not very palatable for animals, presenting problems with intake. However, combining it with a liquid feed can help.

Straw has a benefit because it is a good source of long fibre. If you add molasses liquid animal feeds to, it they can enhance the nutritive value and also make the ration more palatable. The goal should be to promote rumen fermentation to ensure microbial growth. It will then make full use of the digestible part of the straw.

The belief is that the molasses and straw mix could replace as much as 50% of a ration. This would ease pressure on silage stocks. It would also allow farmers to keep forage in reserve in winter.

Molasses could also be a good option for improving low feed value bales of silage. Again it would do this by improving the nutrient values and increasing intake.

Milk production

The big question here is would a molasses and straw mix have an impact on animal performance? There has been a lot of research into this. ED&F Man did one significant study at South West Dairy Development Centre. Here the switch from grass silage to wheat straw and molasses did not affect the yield or composition of the milk. It also didn’t have a negative impact on animal health.

Do you need quality animal feed?

JS Hubbuck Ltd supports farmers who prioritise animal health and wellbeing. We provide a number of products to help with this, including feeds, wormer, bedding, and more. Clients can also ask us for advice and recommendations for various situations.

So, if you need animal feed at any time, speak to us. We’ll find the perfect products for you.