Beef and dairy producers taking advantage of the excellent grass availability by turning youngstock out early, are being reminded to carefully balance the diet at this pivotal time.
The combination of grass availability and excellent ground conditions due to the dry Spring and rising temperatures, is encouraging producers across the country to get livestock out to the field early.
AHDB figures have consistently seen daily grass growth rates above 2018 averages. With many farmers still short of forage from the challenging conditions of 2018, it is a compelling case to turnout cattle as soon as possible. A double win in both reducing silage and concentrate feeding costs, but also benefiting from the ‘zero price tag’ and daily gain available from grazing cattle on pasture.
Dr Kenton Hart, technical manager at Caltech Crystalyx, said: “Producers are quite rightly taking advantage of the excellent conditions and high-quality grass available on so many farms right now, however they must be wary.
“Turning cattle out to grass can be stressful, their diet is dramatically changed which can upset the rumen and lead to setbacks. It is important to manage the transition and mitigate cattle weight loss and falling body condition after turnout.”
Supplementing available grass with Crystalyx Cattle Booster can significantly and economically improve animal performance – even on spring grass – as independent scientific research demonstrates.
Trial work carried out at Aberystwyth University with replacement Holstein Friesian dairy heifers turned out onto spring grass, showed animals with access to Crystalyx Cattle Booster gained 100 g/heifer/day more than control heifers on grass alone – results very similar to yearling beef heifers turned out in late April in a SAC study, where supplementation with Cattle Booster produced an extra 5 kg liveweight gain in the 45 days after turnout.
Dr Hart added: “Feeding Cattle Booster will result in heifers reaching bulling weight sooner, and become pregnant earlier, especially by natural service. Research confirms a 15% increase in conception and pregnancy rates when heifers were supplemented with Cattle Booster.”