TIME4FORMULATING: Rumen Balancing Vital In Boosting Milk From Forage

Paul Mardell – Technical Manager at Carr’s Billington – talks about the huge variations in silage quality, and how to manage through it this coming winter.

2022 is no exception to the rule that with grass silage, comes a huge variation in quality. This year we’re seeing a split between farmers who cut earlier in the season by maintaining fertiliser inputs along with their optimal cutting date, and farmers who have chosen to reduce fertiliser input and aim for fewer and bulker cuts.

Either way, there has certainly been an increase in neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and fibre content in this year’s grass silage. This could be attributed to the mild winter, with grass growing throughout the year and therefore leaving high grass covers moving into the spring. This overwintered material is more fibrous and less digestible.


How to respond to high levels of fibre in 2022 silage cuts

Studying the silage analysis data from both Trouw and Carr’s Billington, the most notable difference between 2021 and 2022, is the high level of fibre.

NDF has increased from 41.1% dry matter to 46.8% dry matter. This coupled with high lignin values, high Acid Detergent Fibre (ADF), along with increased fibre index, will very likely lead to reduced digestibility and lower dry matter intakes.

Rumen balancing will be key to driving forage and cow performance this year. Silage that’s low in acid and high in fibre will be slow to digest and will therefore promote good rumen health. However, silage too high in fibre linked with low acid loading will slow rumen function and throughput, reducing overall feed intake and yield performance.

To balance the rumen and drive production and rumen throughput, farmers are being advised to increase levels of both rapid and slowly fermentable carbohydrates, as well as ensuring good rumen fermentable protein levels to support any excess fermentable carbohydrates.

High quality feed compounds such as Crest 18 and Glucos-Aid 16 serve that very purpose.


The benefits of balancing the rumen correctly

  • Increased fibre digestion
  • Improved rumen throughput
  • Optimal microbial protein yield
  • Increased performance
  • Improved milk quality
  • Improved dry matter intakes
  • Improved feed efficiency

With milk price is at an all-time high heading into the winter, balancing your homegrown forage correctly will ultimately help you make more margin!

Greater milk yields from Crest 18

Crest 18 is our high energy and starch feed compound formulated to support high yields.

  • The high starch levels from maize, wheat and barley sources offer a phased starch release, helping to boost microbial protein production and ensuring high milk protein yields.
  • The high G-factor also helps to boost blood glucose – another precondition for high milk production and fertility in dairy cows.
  • The high DUP from raw materials including AMINO-MAX-L (rumen protected hipro soya) also increases milk yields whilst minimising nitrogen excretion.
  • Rumen protected and highly biodegradable Intellibond Copper, as well as high levels of selenium and Vitamin E, helps to support health and immunity.

Extra rumen performance from Glucos-Aid 16

Glucose-Aid 16 is another high energy and starch feed, this time formulated with TechTonic to help improve rumen pH and rumen function to promote greater feed conversion efficiency.

The combined digestible fibre sources from sugar beet pulp and soya hulls also help to maximise intakes.

Optimised rumen health from EVOLVE365

EVOLVE365 is our dairy rumen buffer designed to optimise pH and maintain fibre digestion, supporting year-round milk from grass and forage, and maximising the nutrient value of even sub-optimal quality forages.

Containing a unique blend of three technologies to help increase milk production and quality, improve gut health and overall immunity, for enhanced productivity: Advanced rumen stablisier – TechTonic, protected live yeast – ActiSaf and metabolic regulator – Capcin. 


We offer a range of personal nutritional services – including Nutriopt™ silage analysis and DietCheck™ diet formulation – to provide vital insights for balancing forages.

Find your local expert today by calling 01228 518860.