The prolonged dry weather seen this summer has been causing real issues for cattle and sheep producers across the UK, so says Dr Alison Bond, ruminant nutritionist for Rumenco.
While it may be tempting to hold off on supplements, the cost of feeding for an extra 1kg of liveweight gain later may be as much as double as the animal matures. However, the consequences of selling under-finished animals could reduce income by £5 per lamb, and £18 per steer.
“Across much of the country, pastures are becoming depleted with animals who are not supplemented potentially suffering weight loss and a reduction in health and performance,” explained Dr Bond.
Trials of all ruminant livestock have shown that supplementing sparse grazing will typically increase growth rates and achieve an additional margin per head. And while ewes are past peak lactation, they need to be prepared for tipping and cannot afford to lose body condition.
Feeding a free-access supplement, such as Rumevite, will help support preparation as well as supply key minerals, vitamins and trace elements, she added. Ewes need 1kg of grass on a dry matter basis during summer and if the dry weather continues, they will struggle to get this which would have a negative impact on conception.
“Rumevite feed blocks provide energy and protein required for growth and maintenance to achieve DLWG targets, whilst also providing key minerals, vitamins and trace elements. The little and often feeding provides a flow of nutrients through the rumen, helping to support a healthy rumen bug population.
“This supports forage digestibility, ensuring stock make the most of the grass or forage that they do have. Rumevite All Season in particular is a high energy and protein feed and mineral block for cattle and sheep with access to lower quality grazing to support optimal health and performance,” explained Dr Bond.
“Supplementing dwindling grazing sooner rather than later will help keep growth and performance on track with younger animals having improved efficiency of growth and so improved return on investment of feed offered,” concludes Dr Bond. “Reaching markets at closer to peak values adds further value to the finished stock too so delaying acting could end up costing you more than it saves.”