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Feeding roughage is worth the effort


WORTH IT: Agriculture Victoria is recommending farmers continue to feed roughage such as hay to livestock during winter.

AS recent rainfall results in the growth of new pasture, farmers may be asking if they need to keep feeding livestock roughage.

Roughage, such as hay, may still be needed during winter for the following reasons:

  • Livestock require a minimum amount of fibre and long roughage to maintain their digestive systems. This is sometimes referred to as the ‘scratch factor’ as it stimulates rumination (cud chewing).
  • If livestock are not used to green pasture, their rumen needs time to adjust to a new feed type.
  • Newly growing pasture may not contain adequate amounts of fibre.
  • Continuing to supplement livestock will allow new pasture to establish and grow.
  • It will help prevent hungry livestock from gorging on pastures that may have potential to cause conditions such as nitrate poisoning or bloat.
  • If feeding grain or pellets with too little roughage, acidosis/grain poisoning can occur.

As we move further into winter, hay may be needed to reduce the risk of grass tetany and to provide a way of administering magnesium to livestock.

Another benefit from feeding roughage to livestock in winter is that it helps keep themselves warm, as the fermentation and breakdown of cellulose creates heat energy.

If livestock do not have enough roughage, they can lose weight as they utilise body fat to keep themselves stay warmth. Consider feeding late in the afternoon to assist with providing ‘heat’ through the cold nights.

For further information please contact your local veterinarian or Agriculture Victoria animal health or extension staff.

 

 

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=29548

Posted by on Jul 23 2019. Filed under Rural News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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