Category Archives: timing

Timing

‘TIMING’ IS THE CONTROLLING RULE OF GRASS PRODUCTIVITY AND ANIMAL NUTRITION

It is well documented that Timing of Animal Supplementation produces excellent results during gestation, lactation and through the life of the lamb or calf. Suggested Drenching with ESD (Essential Sheep Drench) 4 to 6 weeks pre and post tupping, 4 to 6 weeks pre and post lambing combined with the complimentary ELB (Essential licbloc) supplied ad-lib.

As Timing is all important in grassland management, sufficient food and nutrition provides the required protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Most diseases are a result of set stocking, poor grassland utilization, inadequate feeding and nutrition. Pasture fed animals could be ingesting lush grass with the DM (dry matter) as low as 15% to 20%  and  80% to 85% water which could present many deficiencies, one being Magnesium causing hypo-magnesium in lactating ewes.

Heavy compacted soils become anaerobic, high in Molybdenum and lock up Copper. The deficiency in lactating ewes may affect the nervous system of the unborn lamb and lambs being born with swayback.  Another problem is if these pregnant ewes have a Vitamin E deficiency the young lambs may have white muscle disease and die suddenly.

During wet conditions and grazing grass too short, the pastures become muddy or while feeding root crops, the sheep tend to take in a large amount of soil. Not only does this harm their teeth, but they ingest a lot of iron which also locks up Copper, although there may be sufficient Copper, a deficiency could develop.

Pasture fed animals face a daily supply of grass which can vary greatly in energy, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, further complicated by soil type, time of the year, rainfall, and management practices thus making it very difficult to assess the value of the nutrition the animal is ingesting. All things considered, it is highly likely that deficiencies are present. An effective method of treating a suspected deficiency is to treat a small group and observe the difference. This can be effective when say a Cobalt deficiency is suspected. Although there are many products available to the farmer a large number are used incorrectly, inefficiently and even dangerously. The majority of the supplement manufactures adopt a shot gun approach, whether you farm in John o’ Groats or Lands End, you buy the same formula.

Our approach is more area specific and can be farm specific with the Drench and LicBloc complimenting each other in the most digestible form to the microorganisms in the digestive track, the only complimentary system available.  We have collated many forage mineral reports and for example, the mean results for the OX postcode revealed some of the following results;

Phosphorous; LOW; this deficiency causes rickets, weak bone formation, poor growth, listlessness, weak or dead calves.

Magnesium; LOW; this deficiency causes hypomagnesaemia in lactating ewes which can occur more frequently in spring due to lush grass when the DM (Dry Matter)could be between 15% and 20% therefore 80% to 85% is water.

Sodium; LOW; this deficiency slows up the metabolism, reduces milk production, reduces feed conversion, drinks less water, tends to eat soil increasing the ingesting of Iron which tends to lock up Copper and inhibits the uptake of other trace elements.

Copper; LOW; this deficiency slows growth, less thrifty, causes anaemia, defects in the bone structure and nervous system (swayback) cardiovascular problems and reduced immunity. Often causes scours and poor response to anthelmintic.  Compacted soils high in Molybdenum also tend to lock up Copper.

Zinc; LOW: this deficiency inhibits sexual maturity, reduces sperm count and immunity to diseases, increases hoof disorders and disease, if Iodine is also deficient the lambs are slow to rise and suckle. High Calcium may suppress the uptake of Zinc.

Cobalt; LOW; the deficiency causes Pine in sheep, slow growth, weakness, fast deterioration, anaemia and death. Reduces milk supply and weak lambs are born. Sufficient Cobalt levels are there to nourish the rumens microorganisms that are then enabled to produce vital vitamin B12 essential for foetal development and absorption of vitamin A, B and E. Very important on poor forage. The ESD, Essential Sheep Drench boosts the Cobalt and the ELB, Essential Licbloc for sheep supplies the crucial daily requirement as Cobalt is not stored by the body and is required daily.

Selenium: tending towards LOW; deficiency causes slow growth and muscular degeneration, often causing death.

To see more on animal nutritional products, please click the ” shop” tag.

What is Grass Productivity?

grassproductivity.com principles is maximizing production of this natural grassland resource while improving the soil biology and ensuring sustainable grass land management. By understanding the growth of grass in relation to the “S” curve and when to enter a cell to graze and when to exit is one of the secrets of GRASSPRODUCTIVITY. I am interested to see how the flock regenerate grassland and with their hoofs, break up the cap on the soil surface and increase seed to soil contact to restore perennial native grasses. This recovered fresh litter going back building further regeneration and discover what is in the viable soil seed bank? I am pushing to extremes with the stocking densities and hope to have some clear results by end of August. To start with the grass was woodier, more stem than leaf to a ratio of 80% wood and 20% leaf in most of the grassland. My theory is that dry matter standing has a break down value of 1, if lying flat a break down value of 10, and when tramped in by their hoofs the break down value jumps to 100, due to the close contact with fungi and litter. So the tramping is vital, not too little and not too much will increase the organic matter, enhance the rate of recovery, increase ground cover and increase the plant population. The grass growth is starting to increase and soon will be able to assess the recovery rate. With the recent grass measuring I have noticed that the grass growth recovery is very impressive with rich, succulent growth from the ground upwards and no dry woody growth at all, so that means a huge increase in the grass productivity and nutrition in the first years trial. The result is a doubling of the carrying capacity from the past year into this year.

The other important aspect to consider; what is the nutritional value of the grass the animal is ingesting. For more information on animal nutrition, please refer to the “services” tag.