Helping to make the most of organic forages

With a declining milk price, historically high purchased feed costs and growing public pressure to reduce the environmental impact of dairy farming, now more than ever organic dairy farmers are looking to maximise milk production from homegrown forage sources.

Dairy Nutrition

To fully realise the milk production potential of homegrown feed, it’s essential that farmers provide their cows with the right nutritional support to maintain good rumen health and function.

“Between 70-80% of a cow’s energy and protein requirements are supplied via the rumen,” explains ForFarmers Product Manager, Bruce Forshaw. “Organic dairy systems traditionally utilise higher volumes of forages and if farmers want to efficiently convert these forages into plenty of high quality milk, helping maintain good rumen function is a top priority. If rumen performance is sub-optimal, a cow won’t fully exploit the milk potential of her feed."

“While overall diet composition, feed management and cow health will all impact rumen performance, it’s important to remember that there’s also specially formulated organic feed additives that will bring both rumen health and efficiency benefits. While representing an additional feed cost, these ‘extras’ provide a good return on investment by helping enhance rumen function, improve feed utilisation and boosting cow performance.”

New organic feed additive

One such additive is Organic RumiBest; a new feed supplement that has been specially formulated with a combination of plant extracts and spices to help stimulate rumen microbes, improve the rumen biome, and create a better environment for forage digestion.

RumiBest has been shown to help drive more efficient conversion of milk from forage,” explains Bruce. “It improves the volume and efficiency of microbes present in a cow’s rumen, which in turn helps to reduce rumen protein degradation and aids intestinal protein digestibility."

Rumi Best trial For Farmer Organic Focus Spring 23

“Not only does this improve forage utilisation and fuel improved milk yields, it also boosts milk butterfat levels. This is particularly useful for those producers who might be facing challenges with forage quality, but still need to maintain strong milk constituents as part of their milk contract."

“The product is incredibly useful for those farmers who are looking to help their cows utilise lower quality, lower energy silage,” continues Bruce. “We all know that during some growing seasons the quality of forages produced on farm aren’t always where farmers want them to be, with poor weather often the culprit."

“From data we have secured from our customers we know that where silage quality has been poorer year-on-year, herds supplemented with RumiBest have still managed to improve on predicted milk from forage volumes.”

Environmental benefits

And with increasing public and retailer scrutiny into the environmental impact of dairy farming, any additive that has been shown to help reduce farm CO2 emissions is a useful tool to have at a farmer’s disposal.

“Feed conversion efficiency is the measurement of litres of milk produced compared to dry matter intakes,” explains Bruce. “Cows that are supplemented with RumiBest, produce more milk, with higher levels of butterfat and slightly elevated dry matter intakes compared to cows that haven’t been supplemented with the additive. There is a net improvement in feed conversion efficiency."

When fed RumiBest, cows will produce more milk, more efficiently and this makes them more environmentally friendly. We are helping the cow to get more milk from every kilo of feed they consume and therefore improving their CO2e/per litre of milk produced.”

Organic RumiBest is now available to ForFarmers customers as part of our Cedar Silage Enhance and Cedar Graze Enhance 18 compounds and offers a cost-effective solution, at around 10p per cow, per day.

“When supplemented with RumiBest we usually see an increase in milk yield of between 1-1.3 litres per cow,” concludes Bruce. “Assuming an organic milk price of 53ppl, then the return on investment would be around 6:1."

Organic RumiBest is a new product, but we are confident from the continuing success of conventional RumiBest that it will have a very positive impact on cow performance as part of an organic dairy system,” concludes Bruce. “In an industry where we need to be making the most of our homegrown forage sources, but know how variable forage quality can be, a product like RumiBest can be incredibly useful to have as a feed additive option.”

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