TIME4GRAZING – Feeding cows at spring turnout

Feeding dairy cows at spring turnout

With silage currently costing approximately £1.50 per percentage of dry matter (DM) to produce and grass costing considerably less, assessing the quality of grass before and after turnout and using the findings to accurately inform forage and concentrate rations will help improve milk from grass this spring.

Balancing diets at turnout to prevent milk yield, butterfat levels or cow health from being affected needs to be a priority. Make sure you take the following steps to avoid these issues:

Analyse grass prior to turnout

Before spring turnout, it’s a good idea to call your local on-farm specialist to conduct grass analysis to help establish the potential milk from grazing to ensure optimum milk yield and quality are achieved.

Once an accurate estimate of milk yield from grass is obtained, dairy diets can be accurately balanced with concentrates and forage. Carr’s Billington can help with this using their DietCheck™ rationing programme.

Grass should be sampled between every two and four weeks after turnout and diets adjusted accordingly throughout the grazing season for two reasons:

  • If too much milk is produced from grass or if grass quality isn’t adequate, cows will lose condition to maintain their predicted milk yield
  • The nutritional value of grass and intakes vary day to day depending on which field cattle are in, how much grass is available and the weather conditions. During a nice spring day, cows will graze for longer periods of time. In contrast, wet, cold weather can reduce intakes and cause the grass dry matter and sugar content to drop. It’s important to note that issues, such as poor fertility and a decline in milk quality due to loss of condition, could arise after prolonged periods of reduced grass intakes.

Feed the correct concentrates and forage

Feeding dairy cows at spring turnout

It’s recommended that concentrates are adjusted as soon as possible once cows are turned out. Spring grass is usually high in Rumen Degradable Protein (RDP) which needs to be balanced with fermentable energy (FME), then topped up with DUP for higher yielding cows. Look for a cake that contains 16 or 14% protein and good DUP content from ingredients such as Carr’s Billington’s own AminoMax rumen-protected proteins.

If spring weather conditions are unusually dry, grass fertiliser uptake may be limited which could result in grass protein levels being lower than expected. In this instance, cows should continue to be fed an 18% protein cake, especially if they’re still getting a lot of silage.

On the other hand, lush spring grass is often very high in sugar and protein but low in fibre which can reduce butterfat levels and cause subclinical acidosis (SARA). To prevent this, add extra fibre into the herd’s diet by continuing to offer silage as a buffer feed and balancing with concentrates that are lower in protein and higher in digestible fibre. Look for feeds that contain our unique TechTonic rumen conditioner to reduce the risk of SARA and improve milk yields and butterfat percentage. Good quality, highly digestible fibre sources include sugar beet pulp, palm kernel and soya hulls and, unless high quantities of silage are being fed, beware of feeding too much wheat or barley.

Feed adequate levels of minerals and vitamins

It’s also important to consider mineral and vitamin levels within concentrate feeds to keep cows healthy.

As cows get closer to turnout Carr’s Billington increase the magnesium levels within the winter dairy cakes to help protect cows against staggers (hypomagnesemia). Once turned out, feed a summer cake that contains an adequate level of magnesium for your production system.

Cows on production systems that are fed very low levels of concentrates could benefit from Carr’s Billington’s MaxGrazer dairy cake once turned out. 2-4kg per day will adequately cover their mineral and vitamin requirements and the high energy content will also help support the fertility of spring calving herds.

TIME4TLC – To Creep Feed Or Not To Creep Feed?

To Creep Feed Or Not To Creep Feed

As every bite is precious, make the most of it by feeding a balanced diet, tailored to high levels of performance and an optimum rumen environment to get lambs away quickly.

Rising prices of feed, fertiliser and energy are putting pressure on margins. As production costs at farm level continue to rise, growing concerns over raw material availability are putting an even greater focus on maximising the use of homegrown resources, especially forage.

Moving lambs as quick as possible will help save on grass in late summer when fertiliser is too expensive to use in some beef and sheep enterprises.

For producers targeting early markets, it is even more important to achieve high levels of performance to ensure lambs can be drafted as soon as possible, freeing up available resources for other stock.

Feed efficiency is highest in the early stages of life and declines with age. As such, it is vital that lambs are fed a diet to maximise early life growth.

Creep feed provides the energy, DUP and starch needed to efficiently increase growth and promote rumen development.

Other benefits include:

  • Reduced energy demands on the ewe (especially for triplets, ewe lambs and ewes in poor condition)
  • Increased number of lambs slaughtered pre- weaning
  • Improved kill out % for lambs slaughtered before weaning

It is important to remember that lambs may not eat enough forage and are at risk of sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) and other diseases due to close contact.

Limiting setbacks in performance pre-weaning

  • As can be seen in the figure below, lambs will be consuming 50% of their diet from grass or other hard feed by 6 weeks of age.
  • It is therefore essential to ensure rumen development is optimised to avoid any setbacks post-weaning.
  • This requires very high-quality grass and/or creep feed – maintain swards between 4-8cm to maximise quality.
  • Where high quality grass is short, creep feed can help to fill the gap and maintain early growth from lambs.
  • Feed should be offered from 2-3 weeks of age.
  • Feed conversion (kg feed:kg weight gain) in young lambs is around 3.5:1 vs 7.5:1 post weaning.
  • For a feed priced at £370 this equates to £1.30/kg gain vs £2.78/kg gain for older lambs.
  • Young lambs are still developing their rumen, as a result they cannot fully digest many raw materials, it is essential therefore to select a feed formulated with only quality ingredients.
To creep feed or not to creep feed

Digestion in the rumen

The rumen is a large fermentation chamber packed full of microbes, which:

  • Digest feed to make energy and protein available to the animal
  • Require a low oxygen environment and a pH of 6.0-7.0 to optimise feed digestion

For optimal growth and digestion, the rumen microbes require a balanced source of effective fibre, digestible fibre, starch, sugars, proteins and trace elements

Rumen function

  • In lambs, we aim to promote rumen development early in life to ensure optimal performance later in life…

Choosing a concentrate for creep feeding:

  • 16-17% crude protein as fed
  • <35% cereals (e.g. barley, wheat or oats) using only highly palatable ingredients
  • Quality protein sources (e.g. soya)
  • Digestible fibre source (e.g. sugar beet), keeping fibre levels below 8% as lambs are unable to digest high levels in early life.
  • 5-10% molasses.
  • 2% high calcium/low magnesium minerals to avoid urinary calculi (crystals in urine)

Managing Stress in weaned lambs

Stress is known to suppress the immune system in lambs, and weaning is arguably the most stressful period in the lamb’s life. Additional stressors from a multitude of sources can also compound this problem further.

To creep feed or not to creep feed

Feeding and management of lambs post-weaning

There are several options available when fattening lambs post-weaning, depending on farm resources and time of year (e.g. grass finishing, grass plus concentrates, brassicas / root crops or ad lib concentrate feeding).

Independent of system there are several universal factors to consider:

  • Tailor the diet to lamb type – Lighter lambs require further frame growth and therefore protein. Heavier lambs need more energy and should be fed cereals or other high energy ingredients.
  • Sort by liveweight and bring groups forward in batches to improve efficiency.
  • Spread diet changes over 2-3 weeks to allow the microbes to adapt and reduce the risk of poor rumen function or acidosis.
  • Formulate concentrates to complement the feed and forages available on farm.

Actisaf® in lambs – overall trial results

Summary:

  • Maximise weight gain when the lamb is most efficient.
  • Make changes to the diet slowly.
  • Management of the lamb around weaning is key.
  • Tailor the diet to the type of lamb and based on the availability of on-farm feeds.
  • Feed Actisaf® live yeast for improved rumen development, rumen function, feed utilisation and daily live weight gain.

Carr’s Billington’s EARLYBITE LAMB PELLETS are a top-quality lamb creep feed containing Actisaf® live yeast to stabilise rumen pH, increase feed conversion ratio, promote fibre digestion and ease transition to concentrate feed.

 EARLYBITE high-energy lamb pellets also offer a balanced source of starch and digestible fibre, and contains EarlyBite® to improve palatability and intakes for faster rumen development and better growth efficiency.

To offer EARLYBITE as a creep feed for lambs up to 12 weeks of age, contact 01228 518860 or speak to your local store or advisor.

Press Release: Plan Dairy Dry Cow Diets To Cope With On-farm Costs

Plan dairy dry cow diets to cope with on-farm costs

Press release: Issued 22 March 2022

Plan dairy dry cow diets to cope with on-farm costs

With rising feed costs, make sure dairy cows achieve ideal body condition earlier in the dry period through correct feeding to optimise cow and calf health and milk yields.

Jimmy Goldie, Carr’s Billington’s chief technical officer explains that the company’s simple, yet effective, dry cow management programme can achieve the right balance of dry matter intake from forage and concentrate to deliver the optimum amount of energy, while also building on reserves of essential micronutrients ready for cow and calf health.

“We also focus on the liver health status during the dry cow period, as this is as important as rumen and gut health.

“The liver is where the first wave of the immune system kicks in, so if we can get the balance right here, we can help to reduce calving inflammation, providing a reservoir for increased and persistent milk production. Liver health is also linked to embryo survivability in the first three weeks after insemination,” he says.

Mr Goldie recommends providing a dry cow feed that increases the level of beneficial amino acids and antioxidants in the liver cells, while supporting fat synthesis and transportation into the milk produced.

“All the ingredients in our new and improved high-performance dry cow feed Transform-Pro™, have been designed to help promote a high-yielding and low-intervention lactation, as well as a vigorous calf,” he adds.

Transform-Pro™ has been carefully formulated by Carr’s Billington’s leading nutritionists and highly digestible undegraded protein (DUP) status from AminoMax™, combined with high starch levels and high fermentable energy. It also exclusively incorporates MecoVit®, which offers a unique combination of rumen-protected microencapsulated nutrients.

“It’s crucial that precise levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin D3, bioavailable Zinc, Copper, Safmannan®, selenium yeast, and anionic salts are provided to dry cows to help boost natural defences against metabolic diseases and diseases that new-born calves are most susceptible to,” concludes Mr Goldie.

To find out more about how Carr’s Billington can help optimise transition cow and calf health through their dry cow programme and recommended feeds, call 01228 518860 or visit your local store

Plan dairy dry cow diets to cope with on-farm costs
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Time4Transitioning: Preventing Milk Fever In Dairy Cows

Preventing milk fever in dairy cows

How to prevent milk fever in dairy cows

Clinical milk fever in dairy cows can cost around £200-£300 per case. The disorder can also exacerbate the risk of secondary issues such as ketosis and mastitis[1].

As part of our Time4Tranisitioning series, we have put together a reminder guide on the signs of milk fever, also known as hypocalcaemia, and how to prevent it below:

 [1] Dairy Event 2011: Calculating the cost of milk fever – Farmers Weekly (fwi.co.uk)

What is milk fever?

 Milk fever is a metabolic disorder caused when the blood calcium levels of freshly calved cows drop below the normal range (2.1-2.4mmol/L). This drop is a result of the imbalance between the calcium demand post-calving and what is absorbed from the diet or mobilised by the cow.  

Older cows respond more slowly to the rapid increase in demand for calcium post-calving so are typically more susceptible to milk fever. Those with a higher body condition score are also at greater risk.

Symptoms

Milk fever can either be clinical, determined by cows having less than 1.4mmol/L blood calcium, or subclinical, in which cows have between 1.4 to 2.0mmol/L blood calcium.

Symptoms of subclinical cases can be hard to identify, but the symptoms of clinical cases can be broken down into three grades of severity:

 Symptoms of milder cases of clinical milk fever include:

  • Lack of appetite
  • A drop in milk yield
  • Cold ears and nose
  • Uncoordinated walking

Symptoms of more severe cases of clinical milk fever include:

  • Low body temperature
  • Difficulty standing
  • Sternal recumbency – cows sitting on their brisket with their legs tucked underneath

 Symptoms of the most severe cases of clinical milk fever include:

  • Unresponsiveness
  • Lateral recumbency – cows lying on their sides
  • Rumen bloat

Prevention

Ensuring a correctly balanced diet pre and post calving is the best way to prevent milk fever. Make sure you read our guide on dry cow nutrition and implement the following dietary measures:

  • Limit the amount of calcium pre-calving. Aim for 30g/head/day. If too much calcium is supplied in the diet during the dry period, the mobilisation of calcium from the bones and absorption of calcium from the gut can be impaired post-calving
  • Avoid feeding high potassium forages pre and post-calving, such as good quality grass silage and feed salts that contain chloride. This will help to keep the blood pH level from becoming alkaline which would reduce calcium mobilisation. Aim for potassium levels that are between 1.3-1.5% DM by providing whole crop, maize silage or straw as forage
  • Make sure transition cows receive high levels of magnesium pre and post-calving to help with calcium mobilisation. Aim for 40g/head/day and consider providing a supplementary mineral block or bucket or adding powdered minerals to the TMR if this cannot be achieved by the inclusion of forage
  • Consider bolusing high-risk cows immediately after calving

Don’t forget you can contact your local on-farm specialist if you would like assistance with forage analysis or formulating transition cow diets.

Preventing milk fever in dairy cows

Treatment

 Although milk fever prevention should be a key priority for dairy farmers, treatment will be required should cows present symptoms.

 Administer calcium via an oral drench, bolus or injection to cows with milder symptoms and monitor them closely. Those showing more severe symptoms will require veterinary attention and intravenous calcium salts.

BETA Feed Fact Fortnight – ReadiGrass

readigrass

The majority of any horse or pony’s diet should be fibre and the most natural way to provide it is with natural grazing -grass! Other fibre sources are long stem forages such as hay or haylage and short chopped forages such as dried grass, straw and alfalfa (chaff).

When grazing becomes sparse, horses are stabled for long periods, or are travelling and staying away at competitions it can be beneficial to replace the grazing (grass) proportion of their diet with dried grass such as ReadiGrass. Grown, harvested and dried in Yorkshire – absolutely nothing is added. Water is removed gently from the grass in a low temperature drying process retaining the natural flavours, wonderful smell, colour and high nutrient value of fresh grass.

ReadiGrass offers a natural source of nutrients and is rich in digestible fibre essential for healthy gut function. It is suitable for a variety of horses, from those at rest to those in hard work. It can be used as a natural alternative to chaff, a partial hay replacer, and as a treat. ReadiGrass is also ideal for older horses, or those with poor dentition who struggle to chew long stem fibres. With BETA NOPS accreditation ReadiGrass is safe for use during competitions and racing.

BETA Feed Fact Fortnight – HorseHage and Mollichaff

Horsehage & Mollichaff

How much Chaff should I be feeding?

This will depend on your chaff.  If your chaff does not contain any additional vitamin and minerals, we would recommend adding them to ensure a balanced diet.  This can be done in a variety of ways such as including a balancer or a broad spectrum vitamin and mineral supplement.  Some chaffs have vitamins and minerals already added and some can be fed as a complete feed if fed at recommended levels so check your chaff!

For more spring feeding advice head to: https://bit.ly/YourSpringFeedingSolution

To try a free sample from the Mollichaff range head to https://bit.ly/FreeMollichaffSamples

How much haylage should I feed?

As an absolute minimum you should feed the same weight of haylage as you would hay although to ensure that your horse or pony is receiving enough fibre you should look to feed more haylage.  Make sure you are providing a haylage that is nutritionally suitable for your individual horse or pony.

For more spring feeding advice head to: https://bit.ly/YourSpringFeedingSolution

Let’s talk ingredients…

If your horse is prone to laminitis you should ideally look for products that are low in sugar and starch with a combined level of less than 10%.  There are many chaffs available that have been formulated for those prone to laminitis and some contain vitamin and minerals essential for combating deficiencies that may occur as a result of a restricted diet. It is also important to ensure that your haylage is suitable and has low levels of starch and sugar. Look to purchase your haylage from a company that undertakes regular testing.

For more feeding advice request a call back here: https://bit.ly/RequestACallbackHorseHage

To try a free sample from the Mollichaff range head to https://bit.ly/FreeMollichaffSamples

Time4Turn-Out: How To Improve Your Paddock

how to prepare your paddock

Correctly managing paddocks can make a big difference to the amount of grazing/hay available for your horse, and also help withstand the pressures from the multiple demands that are made from it. Alongside low productivity, poorly managed fields can be the source of many internal parasites and poisonous plants.

At least 80% of a horse’s diet should be forage, so the quality and content is very important. By getting the right mix of grass, the goal for your horse is to gain the majority of nutritional requirements from grazing, which of course is the most healthy and natural. To ensure paddocks have sufficient grazing all year round, the grass needs to include species that will complement each other throughout the growing season.

BASIC PADDOCK MAINTENANCE

COMPACTION
Common in equine pastures due to the nature of the hoof conformation. Compaction leads to stressed plants as the roots cannot access nutrients, water or air, all necessary to grow, leading to bare patches. Aerate the soil by sub soiling or using a soil slitter, avoid overstocking (1.5 acre/horse) and include species with deep roots that will help keep the soil aerated.

DAILY
Pick up droppings, rotate grazing where possible and don’t graze grass right down to the ground. Look for bare spots that may be starting to develop that will allow weeds to start growing, especially Ragwort and Buttercups that are poisonous. Either spray or dig weeds out before they go to seed.

SPRING
Remove all dead thatch in the base of the sward with a chain-harrow.  Overseed any bare patches. Roll paddocks to consolidate poached areas and loose soil. Shut up any paddocks that will be used for making hay. In gateway areas that are badly damaged, consider putting wood chip or gravel down.  Before buying fertiliser use the results from your soil test to understand which nutrients your soil needs for optimal health.  Delay nitrogen application if overseeding or reseeding, this will encourage the existing sward to outcompete out new seeds.

SUMMER
Continue to remove any weeds. Top the grass to remove stalky, rough areas (Don’t top Ragwort or Foxglove as these are palatable to horses when dried but also poisonous).

AUTUMN
Keep an eye on drainage, ensuring paddocks don’t start to get waterlogged Continue to control Ragwort.

WINTER
Rotate the paddocks if possible to avoid damage by poaching, using the best drained fields.  Carry out soil testing in Feb-March or Sept-Dec if its over 5 years since the last test.

You need to renovate the paddock when you have 30-50% weed species in the field, by either overseeding or reseeding. Keep a check on the soil status by testing it on average every 5 years: Target pH 6-6.5, Phosphorus (P) 2, Potassium (K) 2

OVERSEEDING

Overseeding can be a very useful, low cost way of improving existing pasture,
which may have become thin and tired with age or damaged through overgrazing. However its worth remembering the existing grasses have a very well developed root system which is in direct competition with new seedlings trying to get established, competing for light, moisture and nutrients.
Avoid long, dry spells, best done April – May, July- August when the soil is warm but not too dry.

  • Cut or graze the field before overseeding and chain harrow to remove any dead thatch in the bottom. Make sure it’s quite bare to allow good seed to soil contact.
  • Broadcast the new seeds and roll to lock in moisture.
  • Once the seeds start to germinate don’t graze the area for 5-6 weeks, then give it a light graze before taking the horses out again to allow the seedlings to tiller out.

Don’t apply fertiliser at sowing because the new plants have no roots and are unable to take up nutrients. All you do is favour the existing sward and provide more competition to the new plants.

RESEEDING

Ensure a soil test has been carried out to check the pH and key nutrients levels.

  • Plough up the existing sward then work the soil into a finer tilth to create a fine, firm seedbed.
  • Broadcast or drill the seed no more than 1cm deep, then roll well to lock in moisture and create good seed to soil contact.
  • Don’t allow the horses in for at least 6 weeks for a light grazing, to avoid damaging the new plants.
How To Prepare Your Paddock
Perennial Ryegrass 70%
Strong Creeping Red Fescue 16%
Meadow Fescue 8%
Timothy 6%

GENERAL PURPOSE 10KG/ACRE

Reseed 0.7 acres, Overseed 1 acre

PADDOCKS, GALLOPS, GRAZING AREAS, RIDING AREAS

Hardwearing mixture designed to withstand the pressures of equestrian use and provide good quality grazing.

Contains varieties that have been specifically selected for roughage and low fructan content

  • Produces a good, springy, dense turf
  • The low fructan content reduces the risk of laminitis
  • Strong grass plant rooting system, making the sward dense, hard-wearing and persistent
Tall Fescue 25%
Strong Creeping Red Fescue 25%
Meadow Fescue 20%
Timothy 15%
Smooth Stalked Meadow Grass 15%

TRADITIONAL MEADOW 10KG/pack

Reseed 0.7 acres, Overseed 1 acre
PADDOCKS, GRAZING AREAS

Ryegrass-free grass seed mixture, the healthiest pasture for your horse

Formulated to recreate the nutritional characteristics of a natural habitat. The mixture is ryegrass free and uses species with a less aggressive growth habit to aid diversity.

  • Varieties in this mixture are likely to be lower in fructans than a ryegrass sward, reducing the risk of laminitis
  • Effective fibre in your horse grass
  • The optimum grass seed for your horse meadow

Please contact us on forage@carrs-billington.com with any queries.
CLICK HERE to download the Grass & Forage Seed Brochure 2022

grass catalogue
time 4 turn out

TIME4TURN-OUT

With winter behind us, the promise of warmer weather and longer days makes spring an eagerly anticipated season for horse owners.

Plan ahead now to avoid spring challenges and spend more time enjoying your horse.

Read More

Time4Finishing: Parasite Control In Finishing Beef Cattle

Parasites in finishing cattle can cause up to 10% body condition loss, increasing the time it takes to reach slaughter weight[1].

Quarantining and treating any new cattle brought on-farm for parasites, as a priority, will help to prevent new outbreaks within existing herds.

In addition, it’s important to remember that lice, mites and liver fluke can affect finishing beef cattle during winter housing so make sure you know what to look for, and how to prevent and treat infestations, by reading our guide below:

[1] Beef Parasites – Westpoint Farm Vets

Lice and mites

The closeness of housed cattle can make mites and lice easily transmissible between animals. Thick winter coats also provide optimal conditions for lice to breed.

There are two types of lice that affect cattle in the UK: chewing and sucking lice, alongside two types of common mites: burrowing (sarcoptic mange) and non-burrowing (chorioptic mange).

Treatment

Ideally, cattle should be proactively treated for lice and mites at housing to prevent outbreaks over winter. However, if infestations are present on one or more cows, it’s important to remember:

  • The type of lice or mites should be identified before treatment
  • There are a range of treatment products available
  • All other cattle within the housed group should be treated to prevent reinfestation
  • Withdrawal periods may be applicable after using treatment products
  • A repeated dose of products may be required for effective treatment

Lice

Pour-on and spot-on synthetic pyrethroids and pour-on and injectable macrocyclic lactones (MLs) are available for the treatment of lice. The injectable treatment is only effective against sucking lice.

These treatments will not be effective against lice eggs and a second course of treatment is recommended if the product residual efficiency is less than two weeks.

Lice infestations can be a sign that cattle may have underlying health issues. Therefore, making sure your cattle are kept in optimal condition through correct feeding will ensure they have a healthier immune system, reducing their susceptibility to infestations and diseases. Read more about feeding finishing cattle here: Time 4 Finishing.

Mites

The pyrethroid permethrin, ivermectin, doramectin, eprinomectin and moxidectin pour-on treatments can be used to treat non-burrowing mites. Burrowing mites should be treated with systemic macrocyclic lactones (MLs).

Treated animals should be moved to new housing that has not been used for cattle in the previous three weeks.

Speak to your in-store or on-farm specialist for advice on the best products to use to prevent or treat lice and mites in your herd.

Liver Fluke

Finishing cattle grazed in the autumn will be at risk of ingesting liver fluke larvae which, if left untreated, could turn into adult fluke during late winter and early spring. Juvenile fluke migrate through the liver, where they cause liver damage and haemorrhage, to the bile ducts where they mature. Once in the bile ducts, the fluke cause chronic disease which can result in a reduction in feed conversion efficiency and poor growth rates.

Treatment

Liver fluke risk is farm-specific, and if present can either cause chronic or acute disease. Flukicides can be used to prevent liver fluke larvae from developing into adults or to treat those that have already developed over winter.

To help determine whether your cattle are at risk of liver fluke consider the following environmental factors:

  • Pasture and weather conditions – cattle grazed on wet, low-lying pasture or near a water source will be more at risk of contracting liver fluke
  • Regional risk – the NADIS parasite forecast provides useful area-specific alerts

Your vet can also conduct:

  • Faecal egg counts – treatment may be required if more than 5 eggs per gram are found
  • Blood tests

Make sure you seek advice from an on-farm or in-store specialist, or a vet, to determine the risk level of liver fluke on your farm. If your herd is found to be at risk, they will also be able to ensure the right flukicide is used at the right time and in the right way as part of your herd health management plan.

Different products will treat the fluke at different stages. Some treat larvae, while others are effective against adult fluke. Additionally, withdrawal periods following treatment may be applicable.

Remember:

  • Generally, if sheep are found to have fluke on a farm, cattle will be affected too
  • Pasture management measures such as topping rushes, reducing poaching and improving drainage will reduce the herd’s exposure to liver fluke larvae during grazing

Feeding For Breeding

feeding & breeding

Horslyx provides all breeding stock, including broodmares, foals and stallions, with optimum levels of vitamins, minerals and trace elements to balance the deficiencies in forage and grazing, whilst also including biotin, chelated zinc and methionine to encourage healthy hoof growth for the years ahead.

Foals and youngstock need the correct levels of protein to build up muscle mass, ensure a healthy immune system and support their growth. Horslyx provides the correct ratio of calcium to phosphorus and contains amino acids – the building blocks of protein – in the form of prairie meal which when combined with the fat from the mare’s milk – or when they are older high quality forage – provides the perfect foundation for healthy development.

Modern day forage and grazing does not always contain the ideal levels of vitamins and minerals, so supplementing a high fibre diet with free access to Horslyx helps ensure optimum amounts of magnesium, zinc, copper, iodine, selenium and vitamin E are incorporated. Horslyx includes copper and zinc in a chelated form – as they would be found in nature – making them more efficiently digested and the nutrient rich lick is weatherproof enabling it to be used all year round at grass or in the stable.

Offering inquisitive youngsters a palatable, easy to digest product such as Horslyx will help promote the natural trickle feeding pattern – aiding in encouraging a healthy digestive system and keep them out of trouble for longer periods of time! The high oil content ensures a healthy, glossy coat leaving them blooming with condition and ready to face the challenges that lie ahead.

Horslyx XL (40kg) and Horslyx XL+ (80kg) are very cost effective due to the larger size and ideal for feeding to herds in the field.  Horslyx XL is available in Original, Garlic and Pro Digest while Horslyx XL+ is available in Original and Garlic. The Horslyx XL will last one 500kg horse a massive 160 days when fed at recommended levels of 250g per day.  All Horslyx products are weatherproof and the smaller 5kg and 15kg sizes are also available in Mint, Mobility and Respiratory.

If you’re wondering which one to choose, then Garlic is an ideal choice for Spring to help repel those pesky flies, Pro Digest is great to support optimum gut health which can help to support milk production in mares and Original is a cost-effective option to ensure that all mares and youngstock get their vitamins and minerals.

Horslyx Balancers are available in 650g, 5kg, 15kg, 40kg and 80kg sizes.  For more information please visit www.horslyx.com.

proud to be stocking horslyx
horslyx feeding for breeding

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Time4Accuracy: Improving fertiliser use efficiency

Improving fertiliser use efficiency

Experts indicate that around 40% of nitrogen fertiliser that’s applied to agricultural land isn’t utilised because plants aren’t able to use the available mineral nutrients.

As fertiliser prices remain high, read our reminder guide for helpful tips on how to improve nutrient use efficiency, without compromising yield.

Soil analysis

Soil sampling provides a representative view of soil fertility and condition which will help to improve nutrient use efficiency. It will also inform accurate fertiliser calculations and costings by ensuring the right fertiliser is spread at the right time, in the right amount.

This is because soil testing results will show:

  • Soil nutrient level – Basic soil analysis will show magnesium (Mg), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) levels. More advanced soil tests will show levels of other elements and trace elements such as calcium (Ca), boron (B), copper (Cu) and manganese (Mn)
  • Nitrogen (N) levels are tested separately from other elements and trace elements. An estimate of nitrogen levels can be calculated from analysing soil type, rainfall and previous cropping
  • Soil indices – Potash and phosphate should be at index level 2 for grassland to ensure nitrogen can be used efficiently, which will drive higher levels of daily dry matter production
  • Soil pH levels –Different crops have different pH requirements but the optimal range for most plants is between 5.5 and 7.0. Soil pH is important for increasing the response to chemical or organic fertiliser as it maximises the availability of nutrients to plants. Apply lime if soils are too acidic to prevent yield losses.

Top tip: Lime applications should only be based on soil tests taken within the last four years. Target the most acidic fields with lime first as they may need more than one application to reach the optimum pH range

Soil sampling top tips:

  • Take samples when it’s dry
  • Test all silage fields every three years and permanent pasture every five years (this can be achieved by sampling around 20% of your farm every year)
  • Avoid nitrate-release tests in grass grazed by livestock because manure and urine can create false readings
  • Take multiple samples within the same field
  • Use soil sample results to inform precision spreading
  • Assess soil compaction and condition when soil sampling. Consider using a harrow, plough or aerator to break up and add oxygen to compacted soil. This encourages root growth, supporting fertiliser uptake and sward health
  • Watch our ‘how to’ soil sampling video here

Make use of slurry or manure

make use of slurry

Organic manure is the obvious substitute to reduce use and reliance on chemical fertiliser. But as stipulated by the updated ‘Farming Rules for Water’, you must plan how much fertiliser or manure to use to not exceed the needs of the soil and crop on the land. This can be achieved by:

  • Analysing slurry or manure before application to understand the nutrients within it to make sure nutrient requirements (based on soil analysis) are met
  • Calculating the phosphate and potash levels to maintain ideal soil indices (as outlined above)
  • Calculating the application rate. Nitrogen application rates should be calculated separately to other elements and follow Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs) standards where applicable.

Top tips:

  • Two slurry or manure samples should be taken per year, coinciding with the main spreading periods
  • Stir slurry, or break up any lumps if using solid manure, and thoroughly mix, before taking the sample to achieve representative results
  • Make sure you’re familiar with the Farming Rules For Water
  • Any nutrient shortfalls can be made up with chemical fertiliser
  • Retrofitting a tanker dribble bar to your slurry spreader is a quick, cost-effective, and low-cost method of optimising your slurry application. Contact us here to find out more.
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Seek advice

Our FACTS-qualified advisers can help with creating nutrient and manure management plans. Speak to your local on-farm specialist if you would like assistance with this.

Check the most cost-effective application rates of nitrogen, slurry or manure for your crops by consulting AHDB’s recommendations in the Nutrient Management Guide (RB209).

Top tips:

  • As part of a longer-term plan to improve fertiliser efficiency, consider adding nitrogen fixing crop varieties, such as clover or other legumes, into your rotation. Read our Grass and Forage Guide 2021 to learn more.
  • Calibrating your fertiliser spreader, using dribble bars or slurry injectors will improve accuracy. Contact your local on-farm specialist if you’d like assistance with this and read more on this here: Fertiliser spreader checks should be prioritised to reap financial rewards
time for soil health

Tight supply coupled with rising fuel prices have resulted in unprecedented costs for fertiliser.

To help keep total farm costs down, our complete grassland management programme is designed to help you optimise fertiliser use efficiency and grass growth.

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