Keep beef rations balanced to capitalise on low-cost cereals

Increasing the inclusion of low-cost cereals in beef rations this year is likely to be a false economy unless rations remain balanced. According to KW nutritionist Sean Roddy, maintaining good rumen function is essential in order to maximise growth rates and capitalise on potential cost savings.

“Acidosis is the big risk and must be kept under control,” he states. “Never let digestible fibre (NDF) levels fall below 28% – use soya hulls, wheatfeed or sugar beet feed to supply any extra needed – and consider replacing some of the cereal with maize meal, which is more slowly released in the rumen.

“This will further reduce acidosis risk, and actually allow more cereal to be fed, whilst also helping to meet the 30-35% starch levels typically needed to finish late-maturing continental-cross cattle. Maintain structural fibre levels by including good quality chopped wheat straw, and consider including an active live yeast, such as Vistacell, to help stabilise conditions in the rumen.”

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