Silage Analysis - Vital this Year

Every year we recommend getting your forages tested to determine their nutritional composition so appropriate rations can be formulated.


But this year the very wet conditions means many silage’s will be more stemmy and have a much lower D value and ME compared with normal. Lack of sunshine means the sugar content will be lower providing less fuel for the bacteria to ferment in to preservation acids. And … the high rainfall in April and May will have washed away expensive nitrogen from the soil that would have been converted to protein in the grass and silage. Early indications are that all of these key nutritional parameters are lower this season compared with last year. A silage analysis also provides you with an ash figure, which can be an indicator of soil contamination. Silages with ash of more than 100g/kgDM should ideally not be fed to pregnant stock that are susceptible to listeriosis, they may also contain clostridia that spoil the fermentation. Also be aware of mycotoxins produced by moulds in forages and cereals and fusarium,. These can be a major cause of poor performance and illness in livestock.


Feed prices are currently extremely volatile with soya protein around £100 per tonne more expensive today than 2 months ago. The causes are drought in the US and too much rain in the east, so globally the market is buoyant and locally the poor weather has stimulated early feeding to maintain growth and milk output.


Where beef cattle are fed forage in their ration, the quality and intake of the silage has a huge impact on their growth rate and need for supplementary feeding. For example, a typical grass silage from last year fed ad lib with 2kg/day home-mix provided sufficient nutrients for a DLWG of 0.8kg, whereas the same ration this year containing this year’s silage would give a DLWG of 0.5kg. Alternatively, a pregnant ewe ration (75kg liveweight, twin-bearing, 3 weeks off lambing) would need 0.75kg/day home-mix plus silage this year, but only 0.55kg/day last year to provide sufficient nutrients.


Superstock proteins can help protect you from the volatility of feed prices this season. Based on urea protein on a palm-kernel and molasses base and containing minerals and vitamins they are a flexible choice for growing and finishing beef mixes and ewe and lamb rations. The Superstock protein range gives you a wide-choice of specifications to match your forages and cereals precisely for addition to a home-mix, top-dressing on forage or addition to a TMR fed from a feeder wagon. They are packed in 25kg bags for accurate addition and can be purchased when required, easing the cash-flow.


Urea protein has been protected somewhat from the feed ingredient price volatility and is ideal for rations including poor quality (low protein) grass silage, maize and whole-crop, straw, hay and ad lib cereal mixes. Superstock is molasses to provide the important energy source needed with urea and fully mineralised so no additional min-vit supplement is usually necessary.


Simple mixes based on 90% cereal plus 10% Superstock Hi Pro 50 fulfils most situations for growing and finishing beef cattle over 280kg liveweight. Lighter cattle would benefit from addition of 5% inclusion of Superstock Beef Supreme, which contains natural protein.


Likewise pregnant ewes can be fed a cereal based mix with Hi Pro Sheep 50 for maintenance with 5% Sheep Supreme added at 2-3 weeks pre-lambing to increase the DUP protein fraction. Quality protein (DUP) fed at the end of pregnancy ensures good quality colostrum, adequate milk and a boost to immunity on multiple bearing ewes.



Growing cattle

Finishing cattle

Weaned calves



Hi Pro 50 Beef

Yes, 10% inclusion rate

Yes, 12.5% inclusion rate

Yes, over 12 weeks,10% inclusion




Hi Pro 50 Sheep




Yes, 10% inclusion

Yes, Over 12 weeks

Beef Supreme

Yes, under 280kg LW


Yes, under 280kg LW



Sheep Supreme




Yes, 5% inclusion

Yes, 10% inclusion





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