The lush leafy grass that exists on many farms at the moment is typically of the very highest digestibility and if consumed by the dairy cow in adequate amounts will contribute to good milk yields and milk protein yields. However, as a note of caution, this highly digestible forage is generally very low in structural fibre and low in dry matter content, and can leave the cow prone to bouts of Sub Acute Rumen Acidosis (SARA).
This condition significantly reduces rumen pH and consequently rumen efficiency and herd performance. It can have a significant impact on milk solids yield impacting on milk price.
Measures to combat Acidosis
The addition of a structural fibre source such as straw to the diet is a worthwhile consideration. However, unless grass is being incorporated into a TMR this is not the most practical solution. That is why many farmers find that Rumen Buffers are an excellent remedy for this condition. In Ireland the use of Rumen Buffers is highly recognised in the formulation of purchased rations but less so as an antidote to correcting low ph levels in grazed grass. In Agritech we have long been involved in the production of rumen buffers through the Rumicare range. Rumicare has been developed to help counteract rumen acidity and promote adequate rumen protozoa populations in intensively fed animals and animals consuming low fibre diets such as grazed grass. Rumicare is widely used on Irish farms and also enjoys worldwide reputation as it is exported to countries as far away as Australia.
Incorporating Rumicare Rumen Buffer into diets
Rumicare is a totally unique blend of phased released rumen buffering minerals and Rumigest Yeast in the one bag. These minerals have strong alkaline properties which counteract rumen acidity right throughout each 24 hour period. The addition of Rumigest Yeast further contributes to healthy rumen protozoa populations. Observing the consistency of the manure from cows at this time of the year will help identify if some help is needed. The Agritech technical team are seeing symptoms of Rumen Acidosis on too many farms with bubbles on the manure appearing far too often for the good of the cow and the profit of the farmer. Using Rumicare at 150 grams per head per day will help counter this underlying condition.
With milk prices where they are, the challenge is to convert grazed grass in adequate amounts to milk solids going out the farm gate. Paying close attention to health issues such as the presence of SARA can help achieve this. For assistance or advice do not hesitate to contact your local Agritech distributor or Agritech Technical Advisor.