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  • Writer's pictureDebby Brown

ALKALAGE enables optimal use of home-grown feeds, whilst helping profitability & performance...

Updated: Mar 11

Multi-cut silage systems are designed to produce a highly nutritious forage with high energy and protein levels and more digestible fibre. They do present the challenge in a ruminant of low NDF levels and higher acidity. The result in the cow is a fast throughput feed which can result in lower pH in the rumen and symptoms similar to sub-acute ruminal acidosis.


Dairy Cows Eating

Multi-cut silage systems work very well when there is a second forage type to feed in conjunction with the young, leafy grass silage. Options for this are maize silage, or grain wholecrop silages. The challenge is that maize and fermented wholecrop silages can still be acidic, so although they help stabilise from a fibre perspective and improve utilisation of the grass silage, they do not effect directly the rumen pH.


This is why treating your cereal crop which is ready for combining with Home n’ Dry pellets to produce Alkalage, a complementary forage which has increased protein and digestibility, is worth considering. Treating your ripe cereal crop with Home n' Dry pellets will allow the wholecrop to provide higher starch and digestibility than fermented wholecrop. The Home n' Dry pellet treatment has the added advantage of having a pH around 8.5 compared to a traditional wholecrop of around 4.5pH. This provides an alkaline product which will support the rumen health and reduce the risk of the sub-acute ruminal acidosis, when feeding quickly fermentable forages.


Alkalage produced with Home n' Dry
Alkalage

The high starch in the Alkalage helps drive the performance of the rumen microflora, which in turn improves the digestion of the multi-cut silages. It also balances the nitrogen in the grass silage crops and supports fertility in the cow.


The making of alkalage is a simple one-step process which involves layering or mixing the cereal wholecrop in the clamp with the Home n’ Dry pellet. Once sheeted, the reaction of the pellet with cereal crop produces ammonia gas, which circulates through the clamp to treat the cereal and straw. The outcomes include more digestible straw, already chopped, higher levels of starch and with an increased protein level. On farm, this reduces the requirement for purchased protein sources, as well as reducing time and fuel costs chopping straw for diets.


Typical analysis of Alkalage wheat:

Typical Analysis of Alkalage Wheat produced with Home n' Dry

Although we don’t know what lies ahead for the rest of the summer, with continuing raw material volatility, and the potential challenges of forage and grass availability, it is the ideal time to consider alternative solutions for feeding ruminants on farm. Utilising Alkalage will help support rumen function, enable optimal use of home-grown feeds, and provide a source of forage to balance all grass silages. Ultimately helping profitability and performance of animals on farm.


For further information, please call the ALKA-line or contact one of our GB or International Technical & Sales Specialists.

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