Silage quality is variable, (as shown in table 1), 1st cut beef and sheep pit silage is on average slightly higher in energy, however, is lower in crude protein compared to 2nd cut. This is similar in 2nd cut bales which have also analysed higher in protein compared to 1st cut bales. This variability will affect the overall ration when moving between 1st and 2nd cut silage. Therefore, it’s important to take these nutritional differences into account to make sure performance and growth targets are achieved when making changes to the ration.
Table 1: Beef and sheep silages averages 2021
|Nutrient Value||1st Cut Pit||2nd Cut Pit||1st Cut Bales||2nd Cit Bales|
|ME MJ/kg DM||11.0||10.8||10.5||10.6|
|CP % DM||10.9||12.6||10.8||12.4|
|NDF g/kg DM||491||467||512||470|
|Sugar g/kg DM||74||69||84||85|
|SIP g/kg LW0.75||100||101||106||103|
Growing and finishing cattle will require supplementation to balance the lower protein content of 1st cuts. It may be tempting to reduce bought in protein in the ration, even when it is required, however this will directly impact the performance and health of the animal. Protein and energy are required for the rumen bugs to function, therefore where animals are deficient their intakes will drop, and their liveweight gains will reduce.
Table 2: Overall protein target of the ration
|Type of Animal||Crude Protein (% DM)|
|Newly weaned calf (first 6 weeks)||14|
|Growing store (post 6 weeks)||11 - 12|
|Finishing cattle (forage based)||12|
Table 3: Example rations for a 400kg continental cross steer growing 1kg/day based on average 1st cut and 2nd cut pit silage
|1st Cut||2nd Cut|
|1st cut pit average (kg)||16||-|
|2nd cut pit average (kg)||-||16|
|Rapeseed Meal (kg)||0.3||-|
|Ration provides per day|
|% CP (DM)||12.1||12.2|
|MJ of ME/kg DM||11.8||11.7|
|Total MJ ME per day||92||92|
*These rations are based on the average CP figures for 1st and 2nd cut silages. Silages with a CP less than this will require higher levels of supplementation.
The price of protein is high this year, with the above in mind it is vital to have your silage analysed in order to balance it with the most appropriate supplement. Monitoring the consistency of the manure is a good way to detect if the protein balance of the ration is correct. If manure is very stiff and dry this would indicate a protein deficiency.
Mary Young, email@example.com
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