Making the Most of Forage Crops


Dual purpose and forage cereals wheat, barley and triticale are becoming popular to fill the winter feed gap. With correct grazing management, grazing cereal crops will provide feed of good nutritional profile and result in increased livestock gains.

It is common to get nutritional value of grazing cereal to be around 11 MJ of Metabolisable Energy, 22 to 24% crude protein and feed digestibility mostly around 80%. Production of such high quality feed is an achievement itself; however, utilization of such high value feed into satisfactory Live Weight Gain (LWG) requires some extra consideration.

Forage cereal crops are very high in potassium and very low in Sodium and Magnesium. Lack of Sodium and Magnesium creates a situation of physiological shock within body. Sheep producers in some areas had nasty shock finding dead sheep in paddock full of grazing cereal.

Provision of equal parts of Salt and Magnesium Oxide can correct the situation. Roughage (straw) has limited benefit to ameliorate the situation as it does not contribute to sodium and magnesium.

A small provision of starch based supplement, for example, CopRice pellets, fortified with Magnesium Oxide and Salt can nicely complement the moderate amount of energy and abundant protein in grazing cereal towards its efficient utilization for maximum LWG.

For further information about efficient use of grazing cereal by your livestock call CopRice on 1800 267 742.