With high levels of starch and good rumen degradability, this year’s maize silages have provided a valuable boost to rations. But improvements in starch degradability through the winter as maize grains soften in the clamp could tip the balance of many rations towards acidosis.
“Starch degradability may have increased by around 5% since initial maize silage was clamped,” states KW ruminant technical development manager Dr Richard Wynn. “So it’s important to reassess rations for the remainder of the winter, and get fresh samples analysed to confirm nutrient supply.”
Replacing some of the cereal in the ration with feeds high in digestible fibre, such as sugar beet feed, soya hulls and pressed pulp, will both rebalance starch levels and increase rumen buffering. Switching to slower release starch feeds like sodawheat (caustic soda-treated wheat) and maize meal is also worth considering.
“And if acidosis risk still seems high, add Vistacell live yeast to safeguard rumen function,” Dr Wynn adds.