Molasses liquid feeds, a cost effective and reliable solution to forage problems on Irish farms

The poor weather conditions during the silage season will have a major impact on forage quality and quantity this next winter and spring.

A recent Teagasc survey showed that one third of dairy and more than 15pc of beef farms are facing a shortage of winter feed.

Dry matter (DM) and digestibility (DMD) values of silages will be low with accompanying losses due to poor preservation and soil contamination. In addition cereal and protein ingredients prices have increased significantly so compound feeds will be more expensive so most farmers need to examine their feed options.

The area sown to cereals this year is estimated to have increased by almost 40,000 acres, so straw may be the most plentiful forage source available. When used in combination with silage and molasses liquids, a cost effective solution to the fodder problems can be achieved.

Molasses liquids are now very competitive in price. The high palatability of molasses feeds makes them ideal supplements for poor quality hay and silages, by increasing DM intakes and enhancing their nutritive value. Liquid feeds are the ideal complement to total mixed ration (TMR) diets; as well as supplying energy and protein, liquid feeds unique physical characteristics facilitate in binding the TMR and distributing nutrients evenly to ensure safe and uniform consumption.

Premier Molasses ingredients include sugar cane molasses (energy), condensed molasses solubles (protein), whey concentrate (energy) and glycerine (energy). We are able to offer high quality blends which provide flexible energy and protein levels and handling characteristics suitable for dairy cows, beef cattle, sheep, pigs and horses.

New Xtra Range-Special Offer for September!

These products contain the unique technology of VéO core which in combination with molasses has shown a synergistic effect in increasing voluntary forage intake. VéO core works by stimulating the cow’s senses to increase appetite and reduce stress levels.

For September only, Premier Molasses is including VéO core in all its farm liquid feeds at no extra cost!

Feeding Guidelines

Molasses liquid feeds are very flexible-they can be top-dressed on forages, mixed with dry feeds or fed in a diet feeder as part of the TMR. They can also be fed free access through lick wheel/ball feeders.

Dairy cows: Up to 3kg (normal 1-2kg) per head per day or 15% of the total diet mix

Beef cattle: Up to 2.5kg (normal 1-2kg) per head per day or 15% of the total diet mix

Young cattle: Up to 1.5kg or 5% of the total diet mix

Sheep: Lambs 10% of diet (0.3kg per head per day) and ewes 15% of diet (0.6kg per head per day)

Diets to stretch your silage

Dairy Cows

Table 2 shows the options available for dry cow diets, offering the best opportunity to stretch silage supplies by incorporating molasses liquids and straw. The optimum body condition score (BCS) at calving is 3.25 and in order to achieve this a 12 week dry period is required if cows are at 2.5 BCS at drying off. Cows should be fed to requirements in late lactation to ensure correct BCS at drying off. Cows will need to gain 0.75 BCS (37.5 kg) over the period or 9.6 UFL (unit of energy) per day.

Silage digestibility (DMD) values are likely to be very variable and in the low 60%s. Up to 50% of the silage can be replaced with molasses liquids and straw. The table (left) shows the options available for dry dairy cow diets for a 12 week dry period.

Options A and B can replace up to half of the silage requirements with straw and a molasses liquid and still set cows up for a smooth transition to lactation.

Suckler Cows & Weanlings

Table 1 gives some examples of suitable diets. Spring calving suckler cows need to have a BCS of 2.5 at calving and have lower energy requirements than dairy cows. However with poor quality silage, their intakes will be reduced to about 7.5 kg DM. A typical cow will eat approx. 6 tonnes of silage DM over a 5 month winter.

If cows are in good BCS (~3.0), they can tolerate an energy deficit and most or all of this silage can be replaced by a straw/molasses diet.

Beef Cattle

In finishing cattle, energy is the most important nutrient and maximising DM intake is the key to optimum performance. Cane Molasses and Nutri-Thrive are ideally suited to inclusion in finishing diets due to their high energy density, improvement in DM intakes and excellent palatability.


Lifestyle

With documentary film ‘Fantastic Fungi’ set to take the world by storm, Joe McNamee looks at the fabulous world of mushroomsDocumentary explores the magic of mushrooms

I lead a very busy life — I’m a mature student in college — and I separated from my partner but the separation was my decision. I hate myself when it beckons as it ultimately makes me fatter, it has the reverse effectDear Louise: I had my bulimia under control. But the demon has returned

This year has been particularly difficult and stressful, and I think that’s an even more important reason to make time for your health.Derval O'Rourke: Resistance is far from futile and necessary

Best-selling author Faith Hogan is keeping the faith during the lockdown, thanks to her Moy Valley haven in Ballina, Co Mayo.Shape I'm in: Keeping the Faith during lockdown

More From The Irish Examiner