Traditionally New Zealand beef and dairy farmers have relied on grass and supplements such as hay, silage and maize to get them through the year.
However, research and overseas experience have shown that even the luxuriant grass growth in our principal dairying regions does not supply the required nutrition to make us internationally competitive in milk production, muscle growth, general tissue condition, reproduction and other vital areas of animal husbandry.
Nutrition – the requirement
Supplementary feeds supply essential nutrients which animals cannot take from pasture at certain times of the year.
Protein is one essential nutrient – for muscle growth, repair and synthesis of body tissues and for reproduction. However, protein supply is hit when pasture matures after November each year. At this time energy levels and digestibility are also low, while fi bre levels are high, leading to heat stress and loss of appetite. Cows then use up the condition put on over previous months as a protein and energy source.
Pasture protein can fall to 13% in the summer – cows need 17% at this time.
The answer is year-round efficient, effective delivery of nutritional requirements by including palm kernel meal, tapioca, copra and soya bean meal in your feeding regime. These supplements have varying nutritional benefits, depending on the individual requirements, but all provide the nutrition needed to keep your cows up to the mark.