How to Achieve Gain on Declining Forage Quality

Grasses decrease in quality as they mature and the grazing season progresses. When the hottest days of summer arrive, cool-season grasses go into a dormant stage, and their quality declines tremendously. Forage availability is usually sufficient, but the nutritional value of the mature cool season grasses is lower. Warm season grasses will produce between 65 – 75 percent of their yield during mid-summer. As forages mature, plants become less digestible and grazing animals decrease their forage intake. The decrease in forage quality leads to depressed animal performance. Kansas State University and University of Nebraska studies have consistently shown producers should expect that stocker cattle will experience a decrease of 0.20 to 0.30 pounds/day for each month from May to September. Producers oftentimes look to supplementation programs to remedy this situation. The most efficient supplements have focused on increasing ruminal bacteria growth.

To optimize rumen bacteria activity, which will enhance forage intake and digestibility; the ratio between protein and energy is extremely important. The lack of protein will slow intake and depress digestibility. The rumen bacteria are simply starving and limiting the rumen’s ability to digest the aging forage. A general rule is forages having less than 7 to 8 percent protein are especially hard for the animals to consume and digest. To return toward profitable weight gains, properly supplementing the rumen bacteria during times of poor forage quality has resulted in efficiently adding 0.15 to 0.50 pounds daily.

Amaferm® is a natural prebiotic that enhances rumen bacteria growth. Studies indicate Amaferm works with a wide variety of forage types and quality levels. Amaferm gives rumen bacteria the opportunity to digest forages to their optimum levels. This helps increase feed intake, especially with low-quality forage diets. Finally, feeding Amaferm will have a positive effect on nutrient absorption from the intestines to the body.

Amaferm will work in conjunction with other supplement components. Research shows that Amaferm can work in tandem with other feed additives (like ionophores), minerals, vitamins and supplemental proteins. This allows supplemental programs to be formulated that can take advantage of multiple ingredients and be applied to multiple situations.

When producers want management decisions that produce positive returns on investment, investing in Biozyme® products that contain Amaferm are a sure bet. For more than 65 years Amaferm has been increasing forage digestibility and returning profit to livestock producers.

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