Dale’s Diary – Balancing Silage

This year we were all expecting more from our silage following last year’s problems. I have to say it has proved to be more difficult this year to get the balances right, particularly with the first cut.

The net result is the need to ensure sufficient digestible fibre is available (e.g. sugar beet pulp). Also make sure protein supplies are balanced. On average there is a need for about 1% more degradable protein this year compared to last year. Look out for lethargic cows and intermittent stiff muck and scour. A sure sign that degradable protein is lacking.

Potassium levels are also high in this years silage which means it is bad news for dry cows. Make sure there is plenty of magnesium in the dry cow diet. Equally in milking cows keep an eye out for udder oedema as an imbalance between sodium and potassium may cause this problem.

Last but not least high iron levels are causing some lock up problems with copper so watch out for poor heats in particular as this is often a good indicator of the problem. Cows showing typical ‘bulging eye’ can be a sign of excess iron in the diet. Speak to a member of our team to arrange a free silage analysis and custom mineral plan.