Arrabawn | Fresh Grass and Low Milk Protein
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Fresh Grass and Low Milk Protein

When good growth follows a period of grass shortage, there is the danger of cows eating too much highly digestible, low fibre grass. Too much highly digestible grass can lead to sub-acute rumen acidosis (SARA) especially if there is insufficient fibre in the diet to generate adequate saliva through good cud chewing. This acidosis can affect the rumen bacteria leading to a drop in energy absorption by the cow, with a subsequent drop in milk quality and milk yield.

Often this shows up as low milk protein. Making a small amount of clean straw available to the cows may help to keep the rumen functioning properly, but this may not suit everybody and feeding a buffer / concentrate to regulate the rumen pH may be more practical.

Also, there is the issue of very high nitrogen grass leading to high levels of Urea in milk(MUN). Despite the fact that nitrogen fertiliser was applied in good time, there was very little growth due to poor growing conditions. With the arrival of milder weather all this nitrogen has been activated with very rapid grass growth – leading to grass with very high nitrogen levels. This nitrogen is normally utilised by rumen bacteria in reproduction and digestion of the cow’s diet.

However, if the cow’s rumen bacteria are short of energy, either due to acidosis or low energy in the diet, then the surplus nitrogen is absorbed into the blood as blood urea and will be detected in the milk as Milk Urea Nitrogen (MUN). A high MUN reading can be an indicator that the cows diet is low in energy (starch) and the rumen bacteria just don’t have the energy to utilise the nitrogen – solution, increase concentrate feeding until grass increases in fibre and surplus nitrogen level drop.

BreederMax dairy concentrate from Dan O’Connor Feeds has been designed to deal with high nitrogen grass and sub-acute acidosis in cows – it contains

De-odorase to trap the surplus nitrogen in the diet, to be utilised further down the digestive tract and it also contains a buffer to regulate rumen ph.

BreederMax is available in 14% Protein for use with very fresh grass and 16% Protein for use with slightly older grass. BreederMax has been designed to help

the cow go back in calf AND stay incalf! BreederMax also contains a range of Bioplex fertility minerals plus extra Vitamin and Biotin as an aid to fertility.

For further information, contact your local Arrabawn rep or Arrabawn branch or ring 061 414988.