Make the RumiBest of your forage

The organic herd relies heavily on forage to meet its nutritional needs, so making the absolute best of those resources is vital. ForFarmers Product Manager Bruce Forshaw explains how the additive RumiBest can help.

Dairy Nutrition
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With forage paying such an important part of the organic herd diet silage production needs to be considered very carefully. Making the best silages requires meticulous attention to detail including care of grassland, optimal timing of cuts and then using inoculants and managing the clamp well, says Bruce Forshaw.

“We also recommend routine silage testing so that you know its nutritional composition and then rationing can be done accordingly to avoid deficiencies or overfeeding.”

The next consideration is to make sure that the animal can make best use of that forage. “The vast majority – around 70 to 80 per cent – of the cow’s energy and protein requirements is supplied by the rumen. Keeping it in good health and performing at its best is therefore essential. If the rumen is not performing optimally then the cow can’t reach her potential.”

The composition of the herd’s diet as well as how feed is managed and all-round cow health all play a part in rumen performance, but it can be supported by organic feed additives too. Although these require a financial input, they provide a good return on investment, says Bruce. “Helping enhance rumen function means better feed utilisation and cow performance.

RumiBest aids digestion and therefore increases milk from forage. Our trial results have indicated that milk from forage is an average of 34% across conventional herds, but for those feeding RumiBest it is 41%.”

With the weather pressures we’ve had over the past year many farms are feeding silage which is lower quality than they would usually produce. It’s at times like this that RumiBest is especially useful as it will increase feed conversion efficiency enabling the animal to get more out of their forages.”

It is made from a combination of plant extracts (tannins, spices and sugars) which stimulate rumen microbes and gut flora. The majority of its work therefore is in the rumen, helping to improve the rumen biome to create a better environment for forage digestion. “Some of the spices are proven to increase pancreatic enzymes so it is active in the intestine too,” explains Bruce.

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Other benefits include an uplift in both yield and butterfat. Results from conventional trials revealed that feeding RumiBest at recommended rates can lead to an increase of 1.4 litres of milk (fat and protein corrected) and increase butterfat by 0.1%.

Increasing the efficiency of milk production of course has environmental benefits too, he continues. “Including RumiBest in the diet helps cows produce more milk more efficiently which makes them more environmentally friendly. Getting the most of their feed therefore is taking steps towards reducing the CO2 emissions per litre of milk which is becoming an increasing focus for processors and retailers.”

Research into the benefits of including RumiBest in the diet is ongoing with further trials taking place on 10 farms this year. “We are really committed to backing up our belief in this product with further data so will be looking at herd performance before and after introducing RumiBest into the ration,” explains Bruce. “Although the trials are taking place on conventional farms the results will very much be applicable to organic set ups too.”

RumiBest is now available in two ForFarmers’ organic compounds – Cedar Silage Enhance 18 and Cedar Graze Enhance 14. For more information please contact your ForFarmers account manager.

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