Shortage of propionic acid is driving demand for the alkaline treatment of cereals

Given the global shortage of propionic acid, it is now almost certain that the 2021 harvest will see more than significant numbers of local cereal growers switching to urea-based crop treatment options.

Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 8:46 am

This scenario should also encourage the greater use of a new treatment system, designed specifically to preserve and add significant nutritional value to harvested grains, whole crop forages and straw.

Grain pHro+ comprises a unique mix of enzymes and digestible fibres. Developed in Ireland, the product has been comprehensively evaluated on stored grains over the two years.

The 2020 harvest marked the first use in Northern Ireland of the new treatment system,

Grain pHro+  consultant Aonghus Giggins (right) discussing the benefits of the product with Paul Sloan of Tullyherron Farm Feeds
Grain pHro+ consultant Aonghus Giggins (right) discussing the benefits of the product with Paul Sloan of Tullyherron Farm Feeds

“Demand for the product was extremely high last year,” confirmed Grain pHro+ consultant Aonghus Giggins. “Given the envisaged switch to alkaline grain treatment systems, we are expecting demand for Grain pHro+ to increase significantly over the coming weeks and months.”

The start of this year’s winter barley harvest will get underway in less than two weeks with many wholecrop operations expected to get underway at around the same time.

Aonghus Giggins again: “Grain pHro+ is combined with feed grade urea at a mixing rate of 5kg of Grain pHro+ to 15kg of feed grade urea per tonne or cereal wholecrop treated.

“The treatment system works to increase grain or forage pH to values between 8.5 and 9.2 while, at the same time, enhancing the nutritional value of the diets offered to beef and dairy cattle.”

He added:“Driving all of this is the fact that the Grain pHro+ treated feeds are converted to an alkaline form and help to prevent acidosis taking place in the rumen.

“Almost all of the grass silages and other preserved forages made in Northern Ireland are relatively acidic, thereby decreasing rumen pH values. As a result, animals are greatly disposed to acidosis, which will act to severely impact on performance, where beef and milk production are concerned.

“The application of Grain pHro+ will act to reduce the amount of buffer that would be added to a ration, in order to prevent acidosis taking place in the first instance.”

Grain pHro+ is distributed by Mountnorris based Tullyherron Farm Feeds and Donegal based Clonleigh Co-op

Tullyherron Farm Feeds managing director Paul Sloan commented: “Grain pHro+ breaks new ground, given that the product both preserves feeds and adds significantly to their nutritional value. The treatment process specifically acts to increase the amounts of dietary protein available to stock. The product can be applied to all grains, including maize, with moisture contents in the range 15% to 20%.”

Paul added: “Applying Grain pHro+ is very straightforward. Grain to be treated can be easily mixed with Grain pHro+ and feed grade urea in a feeder wagon. The process only takes four minutes, after which the treated grain can be put in store under plastic for 14 days. After 14 days the treatment process is complete, after which the grain is ready for feeding. Alternatively, farmers can employ a contractor with a grain treatment system.”

Paul continued: “Grain pHro+ can be fed to all ruminant animals. The alkaline nature of the product and its increased digestibility will allow for higher rates of quality, starch-based cereals to be fed while helping to improve rumen conditions.

“What’s more, farmers’ requirement for purchased protein feeds can be greatly reduced, as a result of treating their own grain.

He concluded: “Treated grain must be fed to stock as part of a nutritionally balanced diet. Tullyherron Farm Feeds provides a bespoke service to all farmer-customers. This includes the production of rations to the highest specification, which is backed-up by an individual advisory service.

“We undertake the regular analysis of silages throughout the feeding season and utilise the results obtained as the bedrock of the advice given to customers.”

For further information contact Paul Sloan on 07866 737300.