Making up for Lost Time with Concentrate Feeding
Feedback on the ground from dairy farmers is suggesting that in-calf heifers are under target weights. Likewise beef farmers in drought affected areas are seeing similar with weanlings. These weanlings can be supplemented right throughout the winter to bridge the gap and get them back on target, but individuals with In-calf heifers under target weights need to act immediately.
A heifer needs to be approx. 90% of her mature weight at calving. For a Friesian heifer at calving this would suggest she needs to be 500 - 520kg minimum while different breeds will vary. With these heifers scheduled to start calving in February and many farmers reluctant to feed concentrates right up to calving for fear of having big calves and difficult calving’s etc, you now have approx. 100 days to correct any weight and growth imbalances. With grass growth rates, proteins and quality deteriorating you need to introduce concentrates here immediately. Autumn grass traditionally would boast a UFL value of about 0.98 and generally be in more of a supply than this year, all these factors combined have led us to where we are. If your heifers are 430-440kg this minute you need to be ensuring you are going to get 0.6-0.7kg average live weight gain per day for the next 100 days. These heifers should be given priority to good quality silage at housing and offered concentrates at a feed rate to compliment the silage quality. For example if feeding 66 DMD silage you will need to feed 2kg of meal to get a lwg of 0.6kg per head per day, if this silage quality was 70 DMD you can cut your concentrate levels to 1kg per head, and likewise if the silage DMD is at 62 you will need to feed 2.6kg of meal to get the required weight gain. Also its worth noting that there can be big variances in silage proteins from year to year, hence the importance of testing your silage in time and getting a concentrate to match.
At Liffey Mills we have a number of renowned beef feeds that have been consistently delivering results to farmers for decades, and the feed which we will be promoting for anyone looking to achieve both frame growth and weight gain in either a beef or dairy enterprise this winter will be our Dairy Care 19% Cube/Ration. This feed was specifically formulated for those trying to push growth rates, its 19% protein made up predominantly from Soya Bean, it has both barley and flaked maize as its energy source and contains Beet Pulp and rolled oats for its fibre. Because its entire contents boasts only of the best ingredients on the market and its high level of protein you can and will obtain successful frame growth and weight gain at the same time. For more information on our extensive feed range log onto www.liffeymills.ie or contact your local technical sales advisor or nearest Liffey Mills branch.
As we enter October now is the time to complete a fodder budget for the months ahead. We have witnessed a lot of silage being fed over the drought period on farms and have also seen poor returns on second cut silage with yields down in excess of 20%. This was largely due to reduced use of fertiliser and exceptionally dry weather. Below is a very handy chart that you can use to determine where you are and where you need to be:
|Silage Per Month
|No. of Animals
|No. of Months
|Dry Cow (dairy)
|Dry Cow ((Scklr)
Once the above sums are done, you know your requirement; next thing is to measure what feed you have access to, below chart will assist with this:
|L x W x (av) H / 50
|Round Bales SILAGE
|700 kg @ 25% DM
|Round Bales STRAW
|175 kg @ 75% DM
|Round Bales HAY
|300 kg @ 75% DM
Our team of trained sales advisors and nutritionists are on hand to discuss many available options to replace, reduce or stretch silage usage this winter, and for those of you with diet feeders we are fully equipped and trained to complete TMR options for you. For more information contact your local Liffey Mills branch or technical sales advisor.
With October upon us the wheel has fully turned, our thoughts turn to sowing. Early October typically presents ideal sowing conditions for winter crops and it's hard not to go all out and get everything into the ground. However, patience is needed as majority of the advice indicates to later drilling prevents BYVD and disease infections.
With the newly released winter cereals recommendation list just out there has been high demand and interest in the new barley variety Tardis along with the old reliable Castings.
Tardis is a very high yielding two row variety. It is moderately early maturing with good resistance to lodging and moderate resistance to straw breakdown. In terms of disease resistance, it offers moderate resistance to mildew and brown rust and good resistance to rhynchosporium and net blotch. Along with all these it offers good grain quality
Castings is an early maturing two row variety with high yield potential. It has short straw and is moderately susceptible to lodging and straw breakdown. Disease wise it is susceptible to rhynchosporium, has good resistance to yellow rust and net blotch and is very good against mildew.
In Wheat from early viewing, it seems like Graham seems to be the leader of the pack again followed by Costello.
Graham is a very high yielding early maturing crop with good resistance to lodging and moderate susceptibility to straw breakdown. Disease wise it is very good against mildew, good against yellow rust and moderate against Septoria tritici. For both fusarium ear blight and sprouting is offers moderate susceptibility.
For Oats Husky and Isabel are the only two on the list and are ranked in that order.
Husky is an early maturing, spring type variety with high yield potential. It has a short straw with good resistance to lodging and moderate susceptible to straw breakdown. With disease it offers moderate susceptible to mildew and crown rust. Along with all this it brings good grain quality.
Isabel again is a high yielding spring type variety but is moderately late maturing. It has good resistance to lodging and straw breakdown. Disease wise it is moderately susceptible to crown rust and mildew and offers a very high grain quality.
Applying a winter herbicide has become more of the norm in winter crops and I firmly believe farmers are seeing and reaping the rewards of this. As crops have more of a chance to establish themselves due to the lesser competition from weeds it leaves greater chance of higher net margins. Pre-emergence is the optimal time to use an autumn herbicide. A pre-emergence needs to be applied within 48 hours of drilling the crop. Ideally the soil needs to be moist to help carry the chemical and create a protective layer on the top of the freshly drilled soil.