Planning buffer requirements now key to tackling silage shortages

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Hands holding silage image

With last summer’s dry weather still impacting many dairy herds this spring, correct buffer feeding will be critical to cow performance for the rest of the year.

Silage shortages are the biggest concern, and over-relying on grazing will put milk from grass and into next winter at risk. Additional feeds to make up the shortfall before new crop silages can be feed out should be planned now.

Choose feeds which contain lower levels of the rumen degradable protein and sugars prevalent in spring grass, and which are high in digestible fibre to support rumen function and butterfats. Moist feeds will help intakes, vital if lower quality silages are being fed.

Key facts & figures:

  • Silage shortages affecting the south and east of England, Wales and Midlands

  • Buffer feeding essential for cows yielding more than 10-12 litres/day

  • Cows needing to regain body condition will require additional feeds

  • 2.5kg of Traffordgold can replace 4kg of grass silage1 (freshweight basis)

  • A 50:50 mix of soya hulls and palm kernel expeller is a good dry feed option

  • Use Soda Wheat to supply additional starch energy with minimal acidosis risk

1 Based on 30% DM grass silage.

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