Timewise Nutrition Programs

Timewise Nutrition Programs

Performance Feeds is committed to being a leading provider of quality liquid feed supplements to the beef, sheep and dairy industries of Australia. It’s important to remember that our supplements work best with your feed, as they are programmed to optimise the available forage, minerals and protein to boost the overall health of your livestock.

How year-round nutrition planning will help you boost livestock performance

The team at Performance Feeds are keen to help you achieve the results you want in your livestock. We will work with you to develop convenient, customised nutrition supplementation programs that are tailored to your unique livestock requirements.

By maintaining consistent growth paths, minimising weight loss, and improving meat, wool and milk production, Performance Feeds’ year-round nutrition plans are also a cost-effective way to maintain high results, long term.

Year-round nutrition planning with Performance Feeds focuses not only on what forage is available throughout the seasons but also on getting the right nutrients to the right animals at the right times. The critical times that your livestock require certain boosts include joining, lambing or calving, and weaning.

At Performance Feeds we understand that the quality of our service is just as important as the quality of our products, and that’s why our team are here to work with you every step of the way, to boost your livestock performance.

The Reasons to Supplement
There are two obvious reasons for supplementing livestock. One is to rectify nutrient deficiencies in the diet and the other is to include a feed additive in the diet. If the aim is to rectify a nutrition deficiency for grazing livestock, the pasture quality usually dictates the choice of supplement. Stock that are grazing a pasture low in protein and high in fibre will benefit from added dietary protein. Supplementing to include a feed additive in the animals’ diet will help to prevent feed-related health risks such as bloat or grass tetany. Stock that are grazing green feed benefit from trace and macro minerals added to their diet. It is important to remember that the level of the nutrient supplemented depends on the animals’ requirements.

The Challenge to Efficient Supplementation
A supplement product is only classed as effective if stock eat it, and do so at the correct rate. An economic supplement provides enough nutrients in the daily consumed dose. A valuable supplement will deliver enough nutrients of sufficient quality to ensure that the extra performance from the stock is worth more than the cost of the supplement. Many supplements available on the market appear to be good on paper. The challenge for manufacturers is getting the animals to consume the right amount. The focus of product development at Performance Feeds is designing, manufacturing and selling valuable supplements. Product concepts that don’t add value to the livestock owner never make it off the design table.

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Rumen Function

The rumen in cattle and sheep is the site where the fermentation/digestion of their largely forage diet occurs, and it holds about 70 L and 5 L respectively. It is full of microorganisms – in fact each mL of the rumen contains about 109 to 1010 of them (that’s 1 to 10 billion per mL). These microorganisms consist of bacteria, protozoa and fungi. Essentially the rumen is a large fermentation vat where these microorganisms break down the fibrous feed. The microbes like a stable environment with a pH of 6 to 7 and a temperature of 39° to 41°C. Importantly the microbial population will vary with diet.

These microbes are an important source of protein for animals, and during the dry season they are the main source. Thus cattle and sheep can obtain their protein requirements from two sources – firstly protein that escapes degradation by microbes in the rumen (so-called by-pass proteins e.g. copra meal and cottonseed meal), and secondly the digestion of rumen microbes that pass out of the rumen and get digested further down the digestive tract. Thus, enhancing microbial activity and numbers can be very advantageous to the ruminant animal.

Microbes can utilise nitrogenous fertilisers as a source of nitrogen with which to form proteins. This along with a source of sulphur, trace minerals and an energy source is all they need to enhance their growth and production. So urea, sulphate of ammonia and biuret are all valuable sources of nitrogen to the microbes. Utilisation of these nitrogenous compounds can be enhanced by administering them slowly and providing a source of energy such as molasses or grain. Enhanced microbial activity leads to an increase in the amount of dry matter consumed and therefore more nutrients being absorbed by the animal. As previously mentioned, the microbes in the rumen like a stable environment and any sudden changes to the diet can be very detrimental to rumen health until the microbial population adapts e.g. changing from a forage-based diet to a grain-based diet too quickly can be very detrimental to the animal.

Products like Anipro and FibrePro are particularly advantageous to ruminants with their slow release sources of nitrogen i.e. RumaPro and Biuret.

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Principles of Pasture Assessment

For the ruminant digestive system to remain healthy, the animal should have plant fibre available. Cattle and sheep chew their cud, which stimulates saliva production. Saliva lubricates and buffers the rumen.

To maintain a healthy animal and ensure adequate production, dietary fibre must meet nutritional criteria.
Ruminants are strict herbivores. They have developed digestive systems that can cope with the ingestion of large amounts of fibrous plant material. The keystone to the complex process that converts plant material into energy is a healthy rumen.

In order to properly meet production targets from a livestock enterprise, it is essential to understand the contribution of pasture to the ruminant’s total diet. Knowledge of the basic principles of ruminant nutrition assists us in making decisions regarding the feed we offer to the herd/flock. Usually, we have limited control over what is on offer from the pasture.

Sound knowledge of basic pasture assessment principles can assist us in making decisions that affect the production of our animals and the profitability of our business.

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The Fibre Requirement

Ruminants grazing in a paddock are restricted to eating whatever plants are growing there at the time,
and usually, the available forage comprises the majority of the daily diet. The quantity and quality of
the forage is continually changing, either improving or deteriorating in nutritional value. Often, there is a
deficiency of a macro-nutrient such as energy or protein, or a micro-nutrient such as a mineral or vitamin.

Knowing if the available nutrients in the forage meet the animal’s requirements and which supplement
will correct deficiencies can require some specialised advice. However, the first requirement for grazing
animals is feed (measured in units of dry matter (DM)). To decide if the available forage is of an adequate
feed value for animal production, it is helpful to know how to measure both pasture quality and quantity.

Forage Quantity Measuring Pasture Availability
Total pasture mass is measured in kilograms per hectare (kg/ha). When we talk about animal requirement
for feed we express feed mass in kilograms of dry matter (kgDM).

Total pasture mass (kg/ha) = Total dry matter (kg/ha) + Total water (kg/ha)
The available dry matter can then be separated into several categories. Knowing the percentage of stem
and leaf, or alive and dead, or grass and legume, gives us an indication of the amount of forage available
for the grazing animal.

Knowing these values allows us to determine if there is enough forage available for the herd. As a rule of
thumb, sheep require a minimum pasture DM mass of 1500 kgDM/ha and cattle require at least 2500
kgDM/ha so as to not restrict intake.

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Pasture Quality

There are several ways to assess pasture quality. The physical properties of the pasture can be measured
as described in the “Pasture Quantity” section above (i.e. stem/leaf/alive/dead) or the nutritional value of the
feed can also be measured. The proportion of grass, herbage and browse are also an indication of quality, as is pasture colour. Of particular importance is the amount of neutral detergent fibre (NDF) in the forage.

Neutral Detergent Fibre (NDF)

Neutral detergent fibre (NDF) is a direct and quantitative indication of pasture quality. NDF is a measure of the amount of plant cell wall. The NDF value of a pasture helps us estimate the potential intake, or how much an animal can eat in a day.

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Grass Versus Legumes

Usually, the leaves of legumes have a lower proportion of cell walls than grasses. Legumes are more digestible than grass. A good balance of grass and legumes in a paddock not only improves the average digestibility of the forage, but the legumes can also provide nitrogen for the soil, increasing the protein concentration of the grass.

Species of Plants

Latitude and longitude determine the species of grass that are native to the area and can be successfully introduced into a paddock. Plants suited to temperate climates are usually shorter, have a high proportion of leaf and remain digestible for a longer period of their lifespan. Plants that grow in tropical climates are suited to short wet seasons and prolonged dry seasons. They grow very quickly from the seedling to the seeding stage. As such, tropical grasses produce more structural tissue and generally have a lower leaf to stem ratio and consequently a lower average digestibility.

Summary

The quantity of forage in the paddock is important to measure because animals lacking feed will not perform. If the amount of forage is adequate, it is then useful to know its quality. Understanding the basic principles of pasture assessment can assist us in making decisions that can maximise the productivity of the herd.

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Beef Cattle Programs Year-Round Nutrition

Most of the beef cattle in Australia are raised and grown on pasture. The potential productivity of the beef herd is reflected by the lifecycle of pasture.

All grasses have one common characteristic – they change in nutrient composition as they mature. The nutrient rate of soil is impacted by many things, including latitude, temperature, sunlight exposure and fertility. From the perspective of grazing cattle, as plants mature, they are harder to digest and have less nutrients. A lower digestibility means they eat less, resulting in a reduced performance compared to when grazing a younger pasture.

Get your copy of the Performance Feeds Beef Nutrition Program below, this is a comprehensive program detailing:

  • Pasture Lifecycles
  • Matching Supplement to Pasture Production
  • Critical Production Phases
  • Benefits of Supplementation during Critical Production Phases

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    Dairy Cattle Programs Year-Round Nutrition

    There are several benefits to nutrition supplementation when running a dairy operation, especially when the programs are tailored to suit your production needs and critical phases. Some of the benefits of nutrition supplementation include:

    • Maintaining body condition
    • Promoting and maximising feed intake
    • Ensuring vital minerals and vitamins are included in the diet
    • Maintaining healthy rumen function
    • Preparing cows for a successful calving and subsequent lactation
    • Development of strong, healthy hooves.

    Get your copy of the Performance Feeds Dairy Nutrition Program below, this is a comprehensive program detailing:

    • Critical Phases of Dairy Cattle Production
    • Supplementation in Dairy Cattle
    • Benefits of Supplementation during Critical Production Phases

     

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      Sheep Programs Year-Round Nutrition

      Today’s sheep industry is constantly improving genetics, which in turn increases the level of production achieved. To allow sheep to perform to their full genetic potential, great attention needs to be paid to nutrition. The high levels of production place heavy demands on the flock and it is our role to support the animal.

      When providing sheep with supplementation there are two key points that must be considered:

      1. Choosing the right supplement; specifically, one that is formulated for small ruminants.

      2. Choosing the time of supplementation to meet the critical needs of the breeding flock.

      Supplying nutrients has many benefits for short-term production and long-term gains in reproductive capacity and immune status. Depending on the type of feed, either a vitamin and mineral supplement or a protein, vitamin and mineral supplement may be required with more specific products also available for critical times.

      Performance Feeds’ range of products are nutrient delivery systems. Proteins, minerals and vitamins are provided at concentrations designed, not only to stimulate rumen function, but to improve the overall health of the animal and therefore productivity. Improved animal performance has been shown quickly after introducing a supplement such as Anipro or FibrePro to a flock.

      Get your copy of the Performance Feeds Sheep Nutrition Program below, this is a comprehensive program detailing:

      • Critical Phases of Sheep Production
      • Rumen Microbes
      • Benefits of Supplementation during Critical Production Phases

       

        Book a Nutritional Analysis

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