Ways to maximise a safe and healthy feed
On visiting a prominent beef finisher in the northeast region during the past week, one couldn't but be impressed with the superb quality of finish this farmer has been achieving on his bulls and heifers.
For many years, he has recognised the benefits of finishing beef animals on ration much higher in energy than is generally advocated and I have fully supported him to this end.
Balancing the ration depending on sex and breed for protein, sugars and, most importantly, effective fibre ensures a safe and healthy feed. It is widely noted that cattle fed on this farm finish faster and kill-out heavier than from more conventionally fed counterparts.
This farm feeds a ration containing a consistent, balanced mix of simple ingredients, which will give maximum performance. It is between 45 to 55pc dry-matter. This promotes high dry-matter intakes.
Moist rations of this spec are easily achieved, as this year he will be feeding wholesome high-energy forages in the form of fodder beet, high-quality maize silage and wheat.
He has chosen soya bean and rape seed meal blended to supply the required protein. Choosing a mineral supplement that is high in phosphorous is the final part of the jigsaw that ensures success.
This year, as a result of the sudden spike in the cost of all energy feeds, especially wheat, the use of soda wheat will be tried for the first time. Using this processing method, the overall cost of the cereal element of the diet will be significantly reduced.