COUNTER GRASS SHORTAGE WITH PROVEN NUTRITION
Following the long winter and slow spring then the prolonged hot dry weather was at first welcomed as grass growth took off. Yet this has now progressed to cause real issues for many cattle and sheep producers across the UK as grazing becomes scarcer and at a time when grass growth and subsequent livestock performance should be at its best.
Although it may be tempting to hold off on supplementation, the cost of feeding for an extra 1kg of liveweight gain later in the animal’s life, and subsequently later in the season, may as much as double as the animal matures. Alternatively, the consequences of selling under-finished animals may reduce income by around £5 and £18 per lamb and steer sold respectively.
With June recorded as being one of the five warmest and driest on record and the chance of showers decreasing as we head into July above average daily liveweight gains typically seen in the first half of the grazing season, supported by highly digestible grass in plentiful supply, are a fading memory. Across much of the country, pastures are becoming non-existent as grazing ‘burns off’ with animals who are not supplemented potentially suffering weight loss and a reduction in health and performance.
Numerous trials conducted over the years with all classes of ruminant livestock have shown supplementation of sparse grazing with Rumevite blocks to typically increase cattle growth rates by an extra 0.2-0.3kg per head per day. As well as offering an effective and convenient method of supplementation, an extra margin of around £28 per head may be achieved even after feed costs offering a win-win situation for many.
Supplementing dwindling grazing sooner rather than later will help keep growth and performance on track with younger animals having improved efficiency of growth and so improved return on investment of feed offered. Reaching markets at closer to peak values adds further value to the finished stock too so delaying acting could end up costing you more than it saves.
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