Farmgate prices have been buoyantly good for all livestock sectors recently and all will be wishing for it to continue for the foreseeable. Despite these welcomed upward trends seen for milk, beef and lamb prices, major input costs like fertiliser and concentrates have also risen significantly too. Therefore the same, if not more, attention will be cast on production costs to maximise margins when both output and input prices are higher.
We have came through a relatively wet Winter and Spring has been dry but unseasonably cold with frequent overnight frosts checking grass growth considerably. Some parts of the country even got a nice layering of snow around Easter! It could be the case that some farms have included some silage fields into the grazing rotation or delayed closing silage fields off to livestock. Yet silage ground in the country that has been closed off for a number of weeks is not showing the desired sward bulk we want to see at this time of year. We are all too familiar with the fact that no two growing seasons are the same but a constant is the amount of forage that can be grown each year; it really just depends when that growth and tonnage comes in through the season.
Farms should then be looking to capitalise on every cut of grass to produce the best quality and value forage for their farm. With every tonne of silage important, farms should be looking to minimise dry matter (DM) losses from forage at ensiling. Research has shown that dry matter losses are costing UK farmers on average £25 per tonne of DM. Simple changes in silage making practices like ensuring a rapid wilt to a target of 30% DM as quickly as possible to make sure grass is dry enough for the clamp or bale while avoiding losses of essential nutrients. Also using a silage additive like Advance+ will drive a faster fermentation once ensiled thus reducing DM losses during this process to improve protein and sugar levels and intake potential.
Advance+ consistently improves silage quality when forage analyses are taken. Based on data from a bank of 200+ samples from 2018, Advance+ had the following benefits:
- Reduction of 3.5% DM losses i.e. extra 35 tonne DM in 1000 tonne clamp
- Extra 0.52 MJ/kg of Metabolisable Energy (ME) which can provide extra 1.5 L of milk from forage
- Extra 46% sugar content as Advance+ bugs are more efficient during fermentation
If you are thinking to yourself now that you want to reduce DM losses during ensilage? And you want more nutrients in your silage? Then you need to be using a silage additive like Advance+ on every cut and forage type.
Provita Advance+ provides such dependable results because of the unique EU-approved triple strain combination. All strains of bacteria in Advance+ are registered with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) which requires extensive dossiers covering quality, safety and efficacy. Being a multi strain product increases the reliability over a wider range of conditions also which is very useful for the unpredictable UK conditions can through up. Applied at the recommended rate, Advance+ is guaranteed to supply 1.2 million bacteria per gram of forage. This high level of inoculant means sufficient numbers of bacteria are present to kick start and accelerate the fermentation process to lock in that goodness in the silage as demonstrated above. There is lot of research to show that for green crops in the UK, a minimum of 1 million bacteria per gram of forage needs to be applied, as additives containing less will not be cost effective and will not control the preservation you require.
Using Advance+ will improve face stability and prevent heating because of the inclusion of acetic acid forming bacteria in the mixture. Although it is more of an insurance policy to help some inaccuracies in the ensiling process. You will want to avoid over-wilting as spoilage organisms will build up on the crop the longer it is left and adequate rolling at filling time will help consolidation. Yet Advance+ is very effective at reducing spoilage, moulding and heating issues at silage face provided normal silage management is good.
Silages treated with Advance+ consistently shows more true protein, more energy and higher digestibility resulting in improved animal performance. So by not using a silage additive is not saving money, it is costing money because the losses are greater and animals will underperform and require more concentrates to make up the difference. We all need to remember that the cost between making good quality and poorer quality silage is not that different with similar fertiliser, contracting and cover costs. In actual fact, the real cost will come when it comes to feeding out that silage when lower daily liveweight gains or milk yields is achieved from forage and more concentrates need to be fed.
Typically using Advance+ will yield a return on investment of 6:1 even in good weather conditions. Advance+ will have a cost equivalent to 4-5 pence per cow per day and calculated milk yield response can be 1.5 Litres per cow per day. Therefore for no more than 5 pence you are likely to get back at least 30 pence on every cow, every day. I think you can agree this is a sound investment!
Advance+ has been widely used throughout UK and Ireland, plus further afield export markets, with excellent forage results consistently seen.
Independent Feeds, a Cheshire based company are a fantastic partner in distributing Provita Advance+ under the name Provance in Great Britain. Andrew Henderson, Chief Executive, explains why they chose Provita. “I have sold silage inoculant for over twenty years and took the decision to move to Provita’s inoculant in 2017, as their data from mini-silo tests was very encouraging. We have performed mini-silo tests ourselves for the last two years and have therefore been able to show the benefits to farmers as they can see their own farm results. We have nearly 100% reordering from the previous year, on the back of the great success they had seen, and sales continue to grow year on year. For 2021 season, we have tens of thousands of treated tonnes confirmed already.”
Plan now to maximise your 2021 forage quality with Provita’s Advance+.
*References available on request
Written by George Shaw, MPharm MPSNI, Technical Adviser, email@example.com, 078 41 92 6219
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