With calving underway, dairy farmers are being urged to plan ahead to combat feed shortages.
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GrainCorp Feeds general manager Daniel Calcinai said starch-based feeds were in short supply. Photo: Supplied / GrainCorp

Global shortages along with slow international shipping were making it harder to get product into the country, supplier GrainCorp Feeds said.

General manager Daniel Calcinai said the company was continuing to see the impact of a grain shortage, especially relating to starch-based feeds for this season.

“There may be a few options available in some areas, but generally starch is short until next years’ harvest.

“We have a couple of starch products available but we are being cautious with our offering based on intermittent international shipping.”

Starch is an important source of energy for dairy cows as it is quickly absorbed and enables rumen fermentation so that pasture and other sources of energy are more easily digested.

“To offset this starch shortage and poor pasture quality in many regions, we are seeing increased demand for fibre-based feeds, such as Soyhull or Oat Hull, complemented with high energy bypass fats, such as Polyfat, ” Calcinai said.

Energy was a critical requirement after calving.

“Farmers could include additional products in their feed blend to help maintain optimal rumen function to improve the efficiency of converting feed to energy.

“Tailoring your feed blend to meet the nutritional needs of your herd and to suit your farm system can provide a significant return on investment. Using the right blend can also help in situations where high energy starch-based feeds are in short supply.”

The best thing farmers could do is to make a feed plan and plan ahead.

“Farmers who use feed planning and monitoring tools can maximise the margins more effectively in this volatile environment, by making proactive, fact-based feeding and farm management decisions, supporting the end goal.”

Waikato dairy co-op Tatua is paying its farmers $11.30 a kilogram of milk solids for last season.

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