With cattle now housed some farmers are reporting stock with loose dung. One of the reasons for this could be due to the high quality silages that have been made this year which are providing relatively little long fibre. Insufficient fibre in a ration can cause stock to have loose dung. By offering straw (no need to replace silage with straw simply have straw available to stock in a ring feeder) you will increase the roughage and the long fibre of the diet and firm up the dung.
A higher ME content of silage is likely to be contributing to the loose dung rather than excess protein. As with most years there are varying levels of protein (CP) among silages and there have been low protein silages made again this year. However with second cut silages we are seeing slight lift in protein.
If offering straw does not dry animals up, discuss with your vet as there could be an underlying disease issue that is the cause.
Remember looking at the dung is an indicator of how well the rumen is functioning and how well the diet is being digested.
Sarah Balfour, firstname.lastname@example.org
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