pellets hands

Why use CopRice pellets over other supplementary feeds?

The grain seed coat has limited digestibility (55% for pigs, 65% for ruminants) and imposes the first barrier for digestion of grain for animals and improvements in digestion are usually recorded when grain has been ground.

Most grain processing methods increase the rate of starch fermentation and starch digestibility in the rumen. Processing of grains reduces particle size, which yields enormous benefits in starch digestion. However, fine grinding may reduce intake and increase losses of dry matter in handling because of the increased amount of fine dust-like particles.

In addition, a finely ground product is less palatable, may irritate eyes and lungs and will predispose ruminants to rumen hyperkeratinosis.

In all grains, the endosperm consists of cells which are packed with starch grains. These grains are surrounded by a protein matrix which normally occupies all that space not taken up by starch granules. Disruption of the protein matrix encapsulating starch granules in the endosperm seems to be a major factor affecting ruminal starch degradation (McNeil et al., 1975).

Possibly the most important effect of heat treatment of grain is to cause the starch to gelatinise. Gelatinisation is defined as the irreversible destruction of the crystalline order in a starch granule so that the surface of every molecule is made accessible to solvents or reactants.

Gelatinisation in feed is brought about by a combination of moisture, heat, mechanical energy and pressure differential and/or pH modification. (Feed Manufacturing Technology IV p 131)

Basically, the gelatinisation of starch has two results important to digestion:

  • Gelatinisation enhances the ability of starches to absorb large quantities of water, and this leads to improved digestibility in almost all cases and to improved feed conversion in many cases.
  • Gelatinisation increases the speed at which enzymes (amylases) can break down the linkages of starch to convert it into simpler and more soluble carbohydrates, including blood sugars (glucose). (Feed Manufacturing Technology IV p 131)

There are a number of potential advantages in feeding pellets over grain:

  • Balanced proportions of proteins, minerals, vitamins and buffers can be incorporated into the pellets. The higher the level of concentrate feeding, the greater the likelihood that nutrient balancing will be necessary.
  • Risks of excessive unpalatable and toxic substances associated with supplements, such as urea, are avoided by careful blending of ingredients.
  • Pellets are usually less dusty than mechanically processed grains (Feeding Concentrates pg 62).

Davidson and Ehrlich (1991) compared a cracked grain meal with a pellet diet of the same basic ingredients. Results showed an improved difference of 1.3 kg milk/ day in the pellet diet. The improved production was attributed to better utilisation of starch in the pelleted rations. The evidence for this was much lower faecal starch levels in pellet-fed cattle.


Improvements in digestibility are presumably due to the exposure of more endosperm to enzymic attack.

Ruminants generally respond well to heat treated grain. Increased digestibilities are associated with reductions in feed intake, as the animal eats to a constant net energy intake.




Rumen modifiers By manipulating rumen fermentation we can control milk composition and production level.
Sodium bicarbonate > As a rumen buffer, Sodium Bicarbonate counteracts changes in rumen pH which can lead to acidosis.
Sodium Bentonite > Is a rumen buffer but can also absorb some excess ammonia and other toxins out of the rumen
Acid – Buff > Is an organic buffer derived from seaweed with the added benefit of containing some minerals
Eskalin (virginiamycin) > Eskalin is an antibiotic that reduces the risk of acidosis by preventing lactic acid producing bacteria from growing in the rumen. It is preferable to try and control acidosis through good nutrition management before resorting to antibiotics, Eskalin can be used on vet recommendation.
Tylan > Has antibiotic like action that can be used without Veterinarian prescription to reduce the incidence of liver abscesses in cattle
Rumensin (monensin) > Rumensin is an ionophore that limits the growth of coccidia and other inefficient rumen microbes. This improves energy utilisation in the rumen by reducing gas production which inturn reduces the risk of bloat
> The increased energy leads to higher milk production or weight gain and reduces the risk of ketosis
> The higher energy levels and increased milk production can aggravate low fat tests in some circumstances
Bovatec (lasalocid) > Is an ionophore with similar effect to rumensin but may be less likely to depress feed intake in calves
Bloatguard > Reduces the surface tension of bubbles preventing the froth forming in the rumen which can lead to bloat
Sugar > Sugar can be used to reduce excess ammonia levels in the rumen. Excess ammonia can interfere with rumen fermentation dropping milk production and tests. High blood urea levels can also occur which may reduce fertility and effect cow health.
Other additives  
Anionic salts > Anionic salts can be added to springing cows diets to help prevent milk fever. They include the sulphate and chloride salts of ammonia, calcium and magnesium
Flavorings > Natural ones like Palabind (molasses) are used to increase intake or mask unpalatable feed additives


Macro & Micro Minerals


Macro minerals Are lost daily in milk, if not replaced metabolic diseases and depressed milk production can result.
Limestone Lime is a cost effective source of calcium.
> High yielding cows on lush pasture or high concentrate diets are often deficient in calcium.
> Calcium deficiency leads to reduced milk production and Milk fever.
Di Calcium phosphate (DCP) > DCP supplies both calcium and phosphorus but due to it higher cost is mainly used when phosphorus is limiting.
> Phosphorus is important in energy metabolism and fertility.
> Pica, chewing foreign objects, is a sign of Phosphorus deficiency.
> For the best absorption a ratio of 2:1 calcium to phosphorus should always be fed.
Magnesium oxide (Causmag) > Magnesium is required to prevent nervous system disorders like grass tetany.
> The availability of magnesium is low on well fertilised fast growing pasture.
> Magnesium oxide is an alkaline form of magnesium and can also be used to increase rumen pH reducing the risk of acidosis.
Magnesium Sulphate > Magnesium Sulphate can be used if the diet is very alkaline as Magnesium Oxide will be less soluble. 
> Magnesium Sulphate can also be used as an anionic salt.
Salt > Salt provides sodium and chloride, which help balance excess potassium in pasture.
Micro minerals Are required in small quantities but are essential for general good health and efficient metabolism.
Zinc > Zinc hardens feet, reduces mastitis and decreases photosensitivity. Chelates (e.g. Availa-Zn) are minerals attached to an organic substance like a protein, this improves their absorption from the gut.
Copper > Copper is important in enzyme activity, it can improve fertility and increases the resistance to parasites.
Cobalt > Cobalt is required for vitamin B12 production in the rumen.
Selenium > Selenium improves immune response, reducing somatic cell count and the incidence of retained afterbirth.