Variable conditions need unique inoculant

Chris Nelson, left, Sales Manager with JMK Quads, Loughbrickland and Stephen Lavery, Genus ABS with the Suzuki Ozark 250, the first prize in the free draw for purchasers of Powerstart silage inoculant. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Chris Nelson, left, Sales Manager with JMK Quads, Loughbrickland and Stephen Lavery, Genus ABS with the Suzuki Ozark 250, the first prize in the free draw for purchasers of Powerstart silage inoculant. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Some silage inoculants are associated with increased milk from forage due to their effect on silage fermentation, palatability, intakes, reduced waste and higher feed values.

Now research shows that a unique bacterial strain can also have a significant impact on fertility. And the extra bonus is that it is effective no matter what the weather conditions.

A major statistically significant study involving over 100 herds and 25,000 cows shows that those farmers who treated their silage with Genus ABS Powerstart had on average a 10 day reduction in calving interval which is worth at least £50/cow per year. In a 150 cow herd this means an extra £7,500 per year.

How does this work?

Powerstart contains the bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum Aber F1 which is able to degrade fructan, the long chain storage sugar in grass, thus enabling it to make better use of all the sugars available. As a result of accessing more sugars the fermentation process speeds up.

The more rapid fermentation delivers two significant advantages. The first is that less of the available sugar is used during the fermentation meaning that there is more sugar in the silage, subsequently available to the cow. The second is that the protein in the grass is preserved more effectively with a higher proportion of true protein and fewer free amino acids and ammonia .

In typical silage with more free amino acids and less available sugar, there can be an imbalance in the rumen fermentation, resulting in too much nitrogen released as ammonia and a shortage of rumen available energy.

Why is this important?

If the rumen is producing a lot of ammonia, energy is wasted converting that ammonia into urea, which is then excreted, resulting in less energy available for milk production.

If less energy is available from the diet, then cows in early lactation may be in extended negative energy balance and will lose more condition over a longer period of time, which has a strong effect on fertility. The second reason is the urea level itself. There is extensive research from around the world which confirms that high blood urea levels result in poorer fertility. In simple terms high blood urea results in:

* Poorer reproductive cycling, so you have fewer opportunities to breed cows.

* Poorer quality eggs which reduces their chance of fertilisation.

* Reduced progesterone levels which mean that cows are less able to maintain a pregnancy

With forage typically making up at least 50% of dry matter intakes it is inevitable that the fermentation characteristics of silage will have a direct impact on rumen fermentation and protein utilisation. Achieving an efficient rumen, where the rumen supplies of energy and protein are in balance can have a significant impact on rumen health.

Feeding silage with a better balance of fermentable energy and true protein can have as big an impact on rumen function as any other attempts to fine tune diets.

In addition to all of these nutritional benefits Genus ABS is rewarding customers with a free entry into a draw for a Suzuki Ozark 250 Quad Bike for every 100 tonne of inoculant purchased. This bike has been sponsored by JMK Quads, Loughbrickland who are authorized dealers for Suzuki, Kawasaki and Honda quads in addition to accepting trade-ins and offering a service and repairs on all makes.

For more information on Powerstart contact your Genus ABS representative or Stephen Lavery on 077 6805 8450.