High energy concentrates deliver better results than extra protein
Where forage is being offered indoors to finish store lambs in addition to concentrate supplementation, the research indicates that only high quality forages should be included in the diet.
The exception to this is where the forage is merely serving as a source of fibre to promote rumen function with 90pc plus of the animal's energy requirements coming from concentrates.
Work from Dr Tim Keady in Athenry shows that 75pc DMD silage offered ad lib and supplemented with 0.8kg of concentrates delivers daily carcase gains of 114grams per day.
Yet in the same study ad lib concentrates supported daily carcase gains of 157 grams per day.
It took 9.1kg drymatter (DM) of concentrates to deliver 1kg of carcase gain.
Assuming a concentrate cost of €0.30/kgDM, this works out at a cost of €2.73 for the concentrates required to achieve 1kg carcase gain.
This is obviously only one of the many costs associated with a concentrate feeding system, but with 1kg of carcase worth €4.50 to €4.70, value can be added through high level concentrate feeding systems, compared to forage based indoor systems.
Yet, when we are feeding any animal particular attention must be paid to what the animal actually requires in terms of their energy and protein requirements.