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Stranraer beef farmer, Hugh Kirkpatrick, finds Home n’ Dry the “easiest and most reliable system to feed home-grown cereals…”

Introducing alkasystems technology to a beef finishing system has cost effectively reduced time to slaughter and proved to be a straightforward reliable option to feed higher levels of home-grown barley, says Hugh Kirkpatrick who farms with his son, Iain a 220ha mixed unit at Little Lochans Farm, Stranraer and annually finishes 400 head of bought in stores.

“We used to feed a maximum 7kg a head a day of rolled or crimped barley in a TMR mix to bought in cattle during the housing period – that was the limit before stomach upsets or acidosis kicked in. Since introducing Alkabarley, we’ve found the biggest advantage has been able to lift that amount to 10kg a head a day without any health issues,” he explains.

“Furthermore, feeding that extra barley has contributed to lifting DLG from purchase to finish by 0.2kg to 1kg and reducing time to slaughter by anywhere from 30 to 40 days,” he says. In addition, we don’t get any liver issues reported on the kill sheets. In fact, in the last 12 months we’ve had just two slaughter comments and one of those was identified as likely to be related to issues the animal suffered as a calf.”

Mark Jackson

The Kirkpatrick’s unit features a rotation with winter wheat and oilseed rape sold as cash crops, together with spring barley for homegrown feed, and leys for silage with additional rented summer grazing. Store cattle are purchased twice a year averaging 350kg to 400kg and taken through to 700kg liveweight, KO 55-57% with the majority in the R4 spec and 10-15% U grades.

“Our strategy is to maximise output from minimum input using homegrown resources and that’s where Alkagrain comes in,” he explains. “We had attempted to dry and crimp the barley, however when we heard about alkasystems technology 10 years ago, we decided to give it a try, and with a bit of fine tuning we’ve since found it the easiest and most reliable system to feed our cereals, and we’ve made and successfully fed it our every year since.

“We retain approximately 350 tonnes of barley to treat at harvest with a bruiser managing six tonnes at a time over a two-day period. The grain comes straight off the combine, into a grain trailer and into the shed. ACT supplies the Home n’ Dry and we accurately apply 35kg per tonne grain at the start of the process as an insurance policy for the first 100 tonnes that will be hidden at the back of the pile, reducing to 33kg per tonne for the remainder. We sheet the pile and remove after five days to prevent moisture build up or crusting.”

The resulting treated barley can be fed immediately straight from the pile in a TMR mix with 4kg Alkabarley, 250gms sugar beet pulp, 200gms soya plus grass silage to provide a starter diet of 15% crude protein, 11.5 MJ ME/kg DM, 27% starch and sugars. The final finishing diet will be around 15% crude protein, 12 MJ ME/kg DM, 37% starch and sugars.

He adds: “The weather delayed sowing this year’s spring barley by two weeks however its now catching up and we’ve the added peace of mind of tried and trusted alkasystems technology to add feed value to the harvested crop.”


To find out more about Alkabarley and alkasystems technology, please contact one of our technical specialists listed below, or call the Alka-line on +44(0)1200 613118.

Rob Cockroft
Great Britain Sales & Technical
t. 07748 651906

Rob Smith
Great Britain Sales & Technical
t. 07930 943073

Paul Sayle
International Sales & Technical
t. 07779 698075