Farmers are being encouraged to analyse incoming cereal samples to ensure accurate feed formulation after analysis of the 2019 wheat and barley harvest showed regional variations in protein and energy levels.
Premier Nutrition’s Eloise Lawlor explains that with overall yields above the five-year average, the Premier Nutrition harvest survey has confirmed the protein of wheat has decreased.
She says: “Our national survey results have shown an average 0.4 per cent drop in wheat protein levels, with energy also decreasing by 0.09MJ/kg.”
Ms Lawlor explains the reduction in energy levels is not surprising, as this summer’s changeable conditions have led to higher moisture content.
“To compensate for these deficits in protein and energy, soya and fat inclusions may increase in your diet formulations,” she says.
Ms Lawlor adds although the wetter conditions witnessed this year have influenced energy content, average mycotoxin levels across the UK remain low.
“Our report has highlighted regional variation and, therefore, I would strongly recommend ongoing local monitoring of cereal samples.”
And while initial results for maize silage are encouraging, farmers are being warned later harvested crops will need careful monitoring.
Dr Liz Homer, ruminant technical development manager with Trouw Nutrition GB, says early maize should complement this year’s grass silages well.
She explains the high level of fermentable carbohydrates and glucogenic energy will balance the high neutral detergent fibre (NDF) and lignin values in grass silage, but she warns the total diet will need careful balancing.
However, Dr Homer says the protracted harvest could have implications for feed quality in later harvested crops.
She says late harvested crops should have higher starch content, but will also have higher levels of NDF and lignin which will affect how the crops will feed.
“As maize starch fermentability increases with time in the clamp, it will be important to get clamps analysed regularly and to fine tune the diet to maintain optimum rumen health,” she says.