RWN Dairy Digest

New Developments in Feeding the Dairy Cow

Using an effective silage additive is now an economic necessity on all conserved forages, grass, wholecrop and maize silageRWN Ultra-Sile Silage Additives Range:

The case for using a silage additive as a routine on pretty well all silage has long since been proven. Silage additive can no longer be seen as a cost to the farm business. The cost of applying an inoculant to silage is around 3p - 5p / cow / day. Not using an additive incurs a yield penalty of around 1.5 litres of milk / cow / day worth over 35p / cow / day.

The benefits are clear. All silage should be treated, clamps, bales, grass, wholecrop, maize come wind, rain or shine whether for lactating cows, dry cows, or youngstock.

There are a number of good well proven, inoculants on the market, some more effective than others. We have worked heavily with silage additives for well over 30 years. We believe that our Ultra-Sile Silage Additives Range offers the most advanced, comprehensive and cost effective range of forage additives available.

Dry silages, wholecrop and maize silage benefit from treatment with a silage additive which is effective at controlling heating at the silage faceIn recent years we have seen changes to silage making, resulting from better machinery, faster wilting, changing weather patterns and increased interest in maize and wholecrop cereal silages resulting in much dryer silages averaging around 32% dry matter.

With dryer silages, which are naturally higher in sugar and much, more difficult to consolidate there has been a rise in aerobic instability leading to increased potential for mycotoxin problems.

In dry conditions every effort should be made to restrict wilting times, to consolidate and thoroughly seal silages as soon as possible after filling the clamp. Clamps need to be well consolidated and effectively sealed using a proven oxygen barrier film covered with protective silage nets in order to exclude oxygen. A continuous coverage of lorry tyre sidewalls, rubber mats, tyres or gravel bags will greatly improve fermentation in the top layers of the clamp.

The Ultra-Sile Silage Additive Range is the result of over 30 years of experience that Richard Webster has worked with silage on farms and over 10 years development work. This new generation of additives represents the cutting edge of technology.

Ultra-Sile additives an essential tool in the silage making processThe Ultra-Sile range incorporates products based both on homo-fermentative lactic acid producing bacteria for traditional lower DM silages, and products based on hetero-fermentative bacteria designed specifically for treating high DM grass, wholecrops and maize.

Trialled commercially over a number of years these advanced products are proving to be a major breakthrough in producing excellent fermentation quality, greatly improved face stability as well as extremely good intakes and milk yields.

To see how to make the most of silage visit our Silage making FAQ page.

New Grass and White CloversRe-seeding with the new Aber High Sugar Grasses and Aber White Clovers offer enormous benefits:

The latest modern Grass Varieties have given all livestock farmers the opportunity to significantly raise output and reduce costs simultaneously. New grass and new white clover varieties offer huge advantages over older varieties with up to 2.5 litres more milk, 2kg higher dry matter intake and up to 25% better protein utilization. The new varieties of Aber White Clover used in grass/clover leys, with no additional nitrogen are capable of producing higher forage DM yields and better quality forage than grass only leys even where 200kg N/ha is applied.

The benefits of white clover has been estimated to be worth
as much as 2p / litre of milk produced

Biocell Farm Mix - Live Yeast:

Live yeast supplements such as Biocell offer clear benefits to dairy cows in increasing feed efficiency, milk yields and herd healthYeast supplements have been used on UK farms for well over 20 years. Recently we have gained a much greater understanding of the mode of action of yeast, how, where and why yeast is so effective. To be fully effective yeast must be live and fed to cows on a daily basis over long periods of time. Much of the beneficial effects are due to the ability of live yeast to remove oxygen from the rumen and the effect that this has on lactic acid, rumen pH, and the numbers and activity of rumen microbes.

The net effect is to lift both dry matter intakes and to improve feed conversion efficiency both for energy and for protein. This in turn invariably results in improved output both on milking cows and on youngstock. Typically we might expect between 5% and 15% improvement in feed conversion efficiency, providing up to 30MJ of energy on a high yielding cow at a fraction of the price of supplying it from protected fats or concentrates. In addition the health benefits of working with yeast to improve rumen function as opposed to using higher concentrate to forage ratios are well recognized.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to argue against the routine use of yeast supplements in both dairy and youngstock diets

Not all yeast supplements are equal. Due to the long term nature of the effects of feeding yeast it is quite difficult for an individual farmer to compare the effectiveness of one yeast supplement against another. The efficacy is dependent on the yeast strain used, the amount of yeast fed or number of colony forming units (CFU's) within the supplement, and the viability of the live yeast cells. We have worked extensively with Biocell Farm Mix over several years. Biocell Farm Mix is based on the micro-encapsulated yeast strain, Actisaf SC47. Our experience of Biocell has been that it is extremely effective and produces consistent results across a wide range of feeding situations. Our enthusiasm for Biocell has been endorsed by recent independent trials in France, which clearly demonstrated the advantages of Actisaf SC47 over other commercially available yeasts.

F1 Trans Omega:

Trans-Omega fed for days pre-calving is the most effective solution to feeding transition cowsThe importance of good nutritional management during the transition period which takes the cow from the dry cow diet to the high yielding lactating cow diet cannot be over stressed. Trans-Omega is a state of the art supplement, developed by FIAM. Fed for 21 days prior to calving, Trans-Omega is the most effective solution to feeding the transition cow that we have seen to date.

Farmers have found that feeding Trans-Omega during transition has proven extremely successful as a means of controlling milk fever and metabolic problems at calving and improving dry matter intakes, milk yields and fertility during the forth coming lactation.


There is a vast range of feeds, seeds, additives, supplements and other products available to today's dairy farmer. Which of these are used and how they are is a major determining factor to the level of profitability on a dairy farm.

Our advice is to work closely, on an ongoing basis with an experienced nutritionist to develop feeding strategies to raise milk output and increase profits in your business.

Richard Webster Nutrition specialises in providing detailed nutrition advice for dairy farmers. One of our key roles is in sourcing, developing and evaluating new products capable of generating more profit for our clients. We supply a wide range of top quality, well researched and proven feeds, seeds, supplements, forage additives, silage clamp sealing systems, cubicle bedding and other inputs at very competitive prices.

For more information contact Richard Webster

Independent Suppliers of Quality Feeds and Associated Products
for the High Yielding Dairy Cow

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