Dairy Market, Feed & Forage Review 2021

2021 has been a challenging year for grass growth, and as we head into winter with the prospect of a generally good and stable milk price, concerns turn to forage stocks and feed prices.

A cold and dry start to the year resulted in late first cut silages that present a very different picture to previous years:

  • Lower protein content
  • Higher sugar content
  • Variable DyNE (Actual energy available to the cows)
  • Lower digestibility
  • Some high dry matter
  • Greater mycotoxin risk
  • With respect to second cut silage, it is a bit early to say as I write this, however energy and protein levels are looking even poorer than first cut.

    On a more positive note, grain yields look good on wheat crops, so digestibility and starch content in whole crop shows promise. As for maize – so far so good, with the warm sunny weather during July helping significantly.

    In summary, our focus this year is on making the absolute most of what has been grown at home as we face limited stocks and higher bough-in feed prices.

    We’re also paying special attention to diet digestibility, and the more prevalent challenges heading into winter 2021/22 – body condition, milk yield and quality, and fertility.

    By Jimmy Goldie, Chief Technical Officer
    1st September 2021

    Working with your unique situation and goals

    Carr’s Billington provides a comprehensive range of feed and nutrition products and services to help our dairy farming customers improve the digestive performance of their dairy cows – driving margin from feed whilst minimising environmental impact.







    Here’s how we can help your dairy cows perform better


    Our UFAS-accredited facilities provide our customers with a complete and bespoke feed range, choosing from our range of responsibly sourced and quality controlled raw materials, providing more precision with no extra manufacturing cost.

    Compound feeds to complement home-grown forages are balanced to provide energy, protein, fibre, and starch.

    Custom and standard range of feed blends, providing a wide choice of protein and energy levels for use in feeder wagons or to be fed as a mid-day feed.


    As the diets and forages we offer our cows change, especially at this time of year, so does the acidity and the pH stability of the rumen. This, in turn, effects a cow’s ability to digest feed and forage properly and efficiently..

    Rumen pH 6.2 to 7.0

    A neutral rumen environment that is ideal for all rumen microbes.

    Rumen pH below 6.2

    Fibre-digesting bacteria begins to slow down and digestion slows.

    Rumen pH below 5.4

    Fibre-digesting bacteria die out and lactic acid bacteria increases.

    TechTonic™ rumen conditioner from Carr’s Billington is designed to keep the rumen pH where it needs to be, and in doing so, supporting forage digestion whilst reducing the risk of SARA.


    Reduction in time the rumen in below critical pH levels


    Improvement in forage fibre fraction digestion


    Improvement in overall rate of digestion

    AFBI studies show an average improvement in milk yield of 2.3 litres/cow/day when TechTonic™ is fed.


    Ensuring rumen microbes have sufficient nitrogen while at the same time ensuring essential amino acids pass into the lower gastrointestinal tract for absorption into the blood stream is no simple task.

    80-90 percent of silage protein is degraded in the rumen, and so has a low Digestible Undegradable Protein (DUP). Furthermore, commonly used crude protein feed materials such as soya and rape are also highly degraded in the rumen. This can lead to excess nitrogen levels in the rumen and insufficient amino acids in the metabolic system..

    AminoMax® rumen bypass protein from Carr’s Billington, with its high DUP, delivers an amino acid profile optimised for lactating dairy cows. Manufactured using natural ingredients, the soya and rape are heated in the presence of sugar and steam, blocking digestion in the rumen. Acid in the abomasum then releases the protein from the sugar allowing full digestion and absorption of essential amino acids.

    % Soya Ext AminoMax – L Rape Ext AminoMax – M
    Dry Matter  89 87 88 87
    Oil 2.3 2.2 3.7 3.6
    Protein 47 45 34 32
    Fibre 4 4 14 13
    Ash 6.5 6.6 6.5 6.6
    DUP 18.8 30.6 10 19

    Trial work has shown a yield increase of 1.2 litres/cow/day when 1kg of soya rape mix was replaced with 1kg of AminoMax® Pro.

    Here’s how it works:


    Nutritional deficits can have a huge impact on dairy cow health and performance and a knock-on effect on your farm’s efficiency and profitability. Ensuring all key micronutrients are supplied at the correct levels to maximise performance with least waste is essential.

    If we take lameness as a health issue alone, the average cost of an incidence of lameness in the region of £180, including cost to treat, loss of yield and potential for shortened productive life of the cow (Source: AHDB).

    VITAMIX Super Dairy IF from Carr’s Billington is a NEW high-quality in-feed mineral supplement specially formulated to support high performance dairy cows. Containing essential ingredients such as chelated zinc, copper, and biotin, to help support fertility and hoof health, and high levels of vitamin E and selenium to help support the immune system. Furthermore, the mineral formulation contains cobalt associated with energy metabolism and production of Vitamin B12.

    Check out our full VITAMIX powdered mineral range.

    Our dairy consultancy offering

    Our range of advisory services and tools are designed to provide our customers with Vital Insight into Growth, Optimization and Reproduction (VIGOR):

    Forage analysis and forage budgeting

    Diet formulation using DietCheck™ and NutriOpt™ programmes

    Herd Performance Review and Kingshay Dairy Costings

    Metabolic profiling in conjunction with your local vet

    Production profiling and lactation graphs

    Soil analysis and slurry analysis


    Have you made your diet plan yet? Our team of specialist advisers are here to help with the support of our FREE forage analysis service.

    Call our order line now 01228 518860

    (Lines open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm)

    Contact us
    Contact us


    Contact Us
    To speak to your specialist advisor


    store finder
    store finder


    Visit Us
    Find you local store


    sign up
    sign up


    Keep hearing from us
    Sign up for our latest news and insights