Monday 27 March 2017

Feeding straw to cattle this winter


WITH fodder supplies limited this year, one of the alternative options available to farmers is to feed straw to cattle. It should be noted, however, that it is important to supplement the feed and to keep a close eye on the condition of the animals.

Straw can be used as a source of fibre for cattle in winter and can provide a major portion of the energy requirement. However, straw is very low in protein and must also be balanced with minerals. Oaten straw is best while barley straw is better than wheaten straw. he most suitable cattle for feeding straw in winter are dry suckler cows, store cattle and weanlings.

Straw is normally 88% dry matter and a standard 4x4 bale weighs 150 kgs, although this can vary. A big square bale of straw (8x4x3) should weigh 400 kgs.

Where no silage is being fed and 50% of the animal's diet is provided by straw, meals with 18% cr.protein should be fed to supplement. The following is a guideline.

Using the table below one round bale of barley straw should feed 30 dry suckler cows for one day provided they get 2kgs of meal each per day. Straw can also be used to replace some of the silage requirements of all cattle provided it is balanced with suitable meals /minerals. It is also worth noting that, this year, much of the very late hay and first cut silage has a feeding value similar to straw and should be supplemented as well.


1. Adequate feeding space is important as all animals eat meals together,

2. Balance with protein and minerals,

3. Have a good supply of fresh water,

4. Build up meals slowly,

5. Watch body condition, meals may need to be increased or decreased,

6. Ensure straw is dry as cattle will not eat mouldy straw.

Why not plant a long-lived tree? 

Andrew Collyer - Practical Gardening March 5 to 12 was National Tree Week. This is an awareness week organised by the Tree council of Ireland to promote all things trees. It has been an annual event since 1985 and should be embraced and celebrated with gusto in my opinion. Where the National tree week really becomes valuable is in schools where the education of the young in tree importance will hopefully produce a generation of responsible environmentally aware adults in the future.

Getting creative about a better quality of life 

Conor Nelligan, County Heritage Officer The Centenary Commemoration of 1916 was a tremendous success in the County of Cork, as it was across the entire nation. In response to the heightened sense of shared identity that was established in 2016, and in respect of the breadth of cultural activity and public engagement that took place, the Government has embarked on an insightful legacy project that sets out to harness the country's culture, arts and heritage over the next five years with the purpose of...

Do animals feel grief after suffering loss of someone 

Peter Wedderburn - Animal Doctor Both of my parents have passed away in the last year: they were both elderly, and had enjoyed long and fruitful lives, so there was much to be thankful for. The experience of losing them has taught me a direct personal lesson about grief. This must be one of the deepest emotions felt by humans, and I am often asked if animals experience the same feeling when they lose a close friend, whether a human owner or a fellow animal companion.

Promoted articles