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Seleni-Grass Total Farm Nutrition

Seleni-Grass

Feed Ingredient Market Update

After 12 months of a remarkable lack of weather concerns the last few weeks have seen increasing concerns about the lack of rain in Argentina. This has now fed through to the Chicago futures market and so UK soya prices are also rising, passing £350 on farm for the first time in over a year. The Vivergo biofuels plant in Hull remains closed and looks unlikely to open again before the end of summer 2018 earliest. The Ensus plant on Teesside continues to run but not at full capacity, so the wheat distillers market is under-supplied. That has put a floor in the mid-protein market, so rapeseed meal and sunflower products are also well off their lows. HDF products are also relatively expensive. UK sugar beet was well sold in the autumn so there is little un-sold material left. Imported sugar beet products are available but tight and expensive. Whilst soya hulls have become more available with shipments from S America and at a more normal discount to sugar beet, they are trading at around the same price as wheat. Even palm kernel meal is up £25 from its lows as the Indonesian/Malaysian producers continue to find new homes for their product, reducing the need to sell it cheaply to Europe. All these issues leave cereals looking something of a stand-out buy for animal feed. We have seen a marked lack of exports of wheat which means London futures have traded in the same narrow range since Christmas. The gap to barley varies across the country but is still at a level to favour its use in feed and certainly well under wheatfeed which is hitting its seasonal price peak thanks to the spike in feed demand from sheep farmers. On top of all this is the rise of vitamin prices. New environmental legislation in China has been limiting the production of the world’s largest producer of vitamins, so prices were already rising last autumn. However, a factory fire in a BASF plant in Germany knocked out an ingredient for around 45% of the world’s supplies of vitamins A and E. Prices of these key ingredients have gone up massively (eight-fold in the case of vitamin A), so the industry is looking at price rises due to vitamins alone of £3-5/tonne. Add all this together and it is clear that feed prices will be going up at some point over the next few months. There will be some respite in spring as demand pressure reduces on ingredients like wheatfeed and it seems unlikely that cereals will race away but all the other standard feed ingredients plus premixes mean we are looking at price rises this spring/summer.

New Franchise – Weidemann Telehandlers

Carrs Billington are proud to announce the addition of a new franchise to the machinery division, Weidemann Telehandlers. Weidemann products are synonymous for compact Hoftracs, wheel loaders and telehandlers in the agriculture and the equine industry, forestry and wood industries, municipalities, nurseries, biogas plants as well as various areas in industry and commercial enterprises.Weidemann machinery have great levels of functionality, working comfort, power & endurance, ensuring the right solution for each task. For demonstrations and information contact your local machinery depot. Weidemann machinery have great levels of functionality, working comfort, power & endurance, ensuring the right solution for each task. For demonstrations and information contact your local machinery depot.

Heat Stress in Dairy Cows

Given the record high temperatures recently, it’s no surprise that animals are struggling to cope with the heat as well as ourselves.  Temperatures have been climbing again, and we may still have the hotter conditions in July and August.  Heat stress may be something that will become more common in the UK with hotter summers as a result of global warming.  There is also now a greater proportion of the UK dairy herd being housed all year round in sub-optimal buildings.  Breeding also plays a part with today’s dairy cows being bred for higher production which results in higher metabolic rates that generates more heat.  Cows in the UK are also not acclimatised to high temperatures and humidity as those in hotter countries.

Heat stress affects the metabolic and immune system of dairy cows when the core body temperature is raised above its normal range.  It is the result of high temperatures coupled with high relative humidity.  We can monitor if cows are likely to be at risk by measuring the temperature and relative humidity to get a Temperature Humidity Index (THI).  Heat Stress is believed to occur when a THI of 72 is reached.  This is when cows are unable to dissipate heat quickly enough to keep the core body temperature down.

Visual signs that a cow is suffering from heat stress include; panting, standing for longer periods, sweating, diet sorting and decreased frequency of eating.  These factors then result in depressed feed intakes which in turn means that the cow is not able to consume enough nutrients to meet her energy and protein requirements.  Saliva production is also suppressed, reducing the buffering capacity to lower rumen pH.  In terms of performance, this could result in lower milk yields, poorer display of heat, loss of embryos and a compromised uterine environment.

So how can we tackle heat stress?  This can be split in to two categories – environment & management or nutrition.

Environment & Management

  • provide shade for cows grazing outdoors
  • for housed cows – ensure adequate air flow, either through building modification or installing fans.
  • avoid overcrowding in collecting yards.
  • hosing down individual cows that are in a critical state of distress.

 

Nutrition

  • Water! Ensure adequate availability and cleanliness.  Cows drink between 10 – 20% more in hot weather.
  • Increase the nutrient density of the diet to compensate for the lower dry matter intakes.  If increasing concentrate inclusion, be careful of acidosis.
  • Reduce the fibre content – digestion of fibre creates more heat than concentrates.  *However, a minimum level of high quality fibre in the diet is still essential.
  • Increase the by-pass protein content of the diet, as rumen function may be impaired.
  • Review the mineral content of the diet.  Cows will lose more minerals when drooling and sweating - sodium in particular.
  • Feeding rumen enhancers, such as Actisaf live yeast, Carrs Billington’s TechTonic, AcidBuf or sodium bicarbonate.  These will all help maintain healthy rumen function.
 

Lowri Davies
Ruminant Technical Specialist

Grass growth remains below last year

The latest data from Trouw International show that, thanks to recent rainfall, average GB grass growth did increase last week from 46kg DM/ha/day to 53. However, it remains below last year. Within our trading area the range in growth rates is from 62kg in Scotland to 49 in Yorkshire. The average milk from grass is 12.4 litres, both energy and protein content have lifted as grassland responds to fertiliser washed in by the rain. Typical analysis is 11.8ME, 25% crude protein and 17% dry matter, although as usual there was a wide range and we would recommend contacting your local Carrs Billington nutritionist to take a sample of your grazing paddocks.

Protect your cows from heat stress this Summer

Grass growth falls but potential milk from forage rises.

The average GB grass growth rates, produced by Trouw Nutrition, fell to 59kg DM/ha/day last week. This is 10kg down on the previous week and is below the same time last year. Scotland and North West England saw growth rates of 67/68kg DM/ha/day and Yorkshire 54kg.

On the plus side, high temperatures increased the average dry matter of grass back up to 19%, which will have improved potential intakes. With a typical energy content of 11.8 ME this means, on average, grazing could support M + 14 litres although in many places this potential will have been offset by very high temperatures leading to heat stress in cows and reducing forage intakes.

Reasonable levels of fibre in grass and a low acid loading have reduced the risk of low butterfats but, as above, this will have been offset by potential heat stress.

In the USA and Canada, cows are housed to help protect them from heat stress in summer, the barns are equipped with fans which come on at 68 degrees F (20 degrees C) and many have water sprinklers in the feed passages which come on at 72 F (22 degrees C) Last week there will have been many cows in GB grazing outdoors in temperatures of 86 F (30 degrees C). I must emphasise that we are not saying cows should be kept indoors, just that when grazed outdoors in high temperatures, shade and good access to water are very important for cow health and welfare as well as production.

Grass growth falls but potential milk from forage rises

The average GB grass growth rates, produced by Trouw Nutrition, fell to 59kg DM/ha/day last week. This is 10kg down on the previous week and is below the same time last year. Scotland and North West England saw growth rates of 67/68kg DM/ha/day and Yorkshire 54kg. On the plus side, high temperatures increased the average dry matter of grass back up to 19%, which will have improved potential intakes. With a typical energy content of 11.8 ME this means, on average, grazing could support M + 14 litres although in many places this potential will have been offset by very high temperatures leading to heat stress in cows and reducing forage intakes. Reasonable levels of fibre in grass and a low acid loading have reduced the risk of low butterfats but, as above, this will have been offset by potential heat stress. In the USA and Canada, cows are housed to help protect them from heat stress in summer, the barns are equipped with fans which come on at 68 degrees F (20 degrees C) and many have water sprinklers in the feed passages which come on at 72 F (22 degrees C) Last week there will have been many cows in GB grazing outdoors in temperatures of 86 F (30 degrees C). I must emphasise that we are not saying cows should be kept indoors, just that when grazed outdoors in high temperatures, shade and good access to water are very important for cow health and welfare as well as production.

Raw Material Market Update

A year ago, the EU Referendum result caused UK exchange rates to fall by more than 10% so it was perhaps a surprise that the hung Parliament result of the General Election ‘only’ saw a further drop of 3-4% and that seems to be recovering as Brexit negotiations get underway. Still, even that modest drop puts £7-10 on the price of soya meal.

Lack of rain is an issue in some wheat growing parts of the USA and dryness in Australia is cutting their export surplus. Heat and low rainfall in Spain and Portugal could mean they are looking to import more wheat next winter – traditional markets for UK wheat exports. The UK, fortunately, has had some rain now but wheat prices have still hardened by around £4-£5/t. Whether this is sustainable when, despite the issues outlined above, world wheat stocks are predicted to rise for the 5th consecutive year remains to be seen. Strong demand for wheat in the north from the biofuels industry is a contributing factor inside our trading area.

World soya prices have been steady recently. Rape meal remains expensive compared to distillers grains and sunflower; prices should fall when the new oilseed crop is processed but until then other proteins are better value for money.

The GB sugar beet harvest is predicted to be better this year and prices for beet pulp are reducing; however, soya hulls and palm kernel still look better buys at the moment. Palm fat prices are falling as increased supplies become available but they should reduce further and it could be worth waiting if considering buying fat products in any quantity.

Overall, it looks like little change in feed prices over the next few months.

Protect your cows and milk quality

Good milk yields from grass possible but beware of low butterfats and heat stress.

The latest weekly figures from Trouw Nutrition show that grass growth increased to 78kg DM/ha/day last week. This was 20kg more than the previous week but still running below the same time last year. Highest average growth rates were seen in Scotland at 86kg, the lowest in Yorkshire at 62 kg DM/ha.

Average energy levels were 11.95 ME, crude protein 23% and dry matter 17.6%, giving a potential milk from forage of M + 13.8 litres. As usual there is huge variation between individual farms, ask your local Carrs Billington nutritionist to test your grazing.

Grass analysis also shows a high acid loading and low fibre index, increasing the risk of low butterfats.

Recent very high temperatures and humidity mean a greatly increased risk of heat stress in dairy cows, especially high yielding ones. A good water supply is vital and ensure cows have access to shade. During times of heat stress, a cow’s appetite decreases and forage intakes in particular, this puts even more pressure on butterfats and increases the risk of acidosis.

Our range of high digestible fibre cakes and blends containing TechTonic rumen conditioner and Actisaf yeast will help to both reduce the risk of acidosis and low butterfats.

Protect your cows and milk quality today with Carrs Billington.

Raw Material Market Update

Politics is having an impact on raw material costs at the moment. The problems of President Trump have weakened the dollar so that the pound rose to $1.30 last week, the first time since last September. If sustained this will help reduce the costs of imports.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, the president has been involved in bribery claims leading to an 8% drop in the value of the Brazilian Real. Soya traded in Chicago dropped $8/t in response; the question now is, will US soya meal futures fall below $300/t?

Soya ex Liverpool for the rest of the summer and next winter is at its lowest price so far and looks good value, as do distillers grains from the biofuels industry. In contrast, rape meal looks expensive. Relatively little is being crushed at the moment and new crop will need to drop in price for the autumn to be competitive. If you are looking to buy DUP, AminoMax protected soya represents the best value per unit of Digestible Undegradable Protein.

Sugar beet looks like a luxury buy at the moment; both soya hulls and palm kernel provide much better value for money. Palm fat products such as Butterfat Extra and Megalac are starting to fall in price so just buy what you need for now.

Old crop wheat and barley continue to trade at around £160 and high £130s/t delivered. New crop wheat is currently only £10/t cheaper than old crop which limits the scope for price drops later in the summer. A good harvest would help bring forward prices down so the recent rain across the UK and W Europe has been very welcome after a very dry April.