Don’t Leave Animal Nutrition to Chance | Hill Laboratories - NZ

Don’t Leave Animal Nutrition to Chance

Don’t Leave Animal Nutrition to Chance

Date: 1 Nov 2019
Author: Hill Laboratories

Achieving milk production or liveweight-gain targets for livestock through the summer period requires attention to detail and cannot be left to chance. Maintaining body condition score and animal health through this early reproductive period for spring calving/lambing animals will also be beneficial as the season progresses.

Our Extended Feed profile (ExtFed) or Extended Silage profile (ExtSil) can help you to make the most of forage testing and take the “chance” of poor animal nutrition out of the equation. 

Grazing plans and feed budgets will largely focus on feed allowance to meet animal demand, and will usually also consider feed quality in terms of digestibility and metabolisable energy. However, there can often be a lack of attention around the key mineral nutrients livestock need. Pasture and other forage crops have varying mineral nutrient content according to plant species, growth stage, growing conditions and soil nutrient status.

Feed testing that includes a mineral profile test can be a useful tool to avoid these potential nutrition gaps. For instance, a quick review of Sept-Dec 2018 pasture test results for sodium (Na) showed that 27% of the samples had Na levels at less than the minimum recommended level of 0.12% for dairy cows. Research (O’Connor et al, 2000) has shown the potential dairy production benefits to supplemented Na, so having a pasture analysis will allow you to make good decisions around the use of mineral additives.

Similarly, a review of pasture silage and baleage samples analysed at the lab over the same period showed that almost 20% of the samples had Crude Protein (CP) levels at less than 12%, and 36% of the samples at less than 14% CP. Allocation decisions of silage products such as these, to a suitable livestock class, can be made with confidence if a lab test is at hand.

Feed testing kits can be ordered directly on our website, or bulk supplies can be requested from the laboratory.