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With cereal crops struggling on many farms this season, Alkasystems technology could provide you with the ideal solution for optimising home-grown barley and wheat…

Coming out of a wet winter and a cold spring, early summer grass growth is slow and regrowth after first cut varied. Winter forage could be tight this year, however, those with cereal crops in the ground have an option by introducing alkasystems technology.

Cereal crops are struggling on many farms this season, while forage crops have also been underperforming, consequently there’s going to be a higher demand for purchased starch on many beef units this coming winter. This could result in starch being expensive relative to protein, says Dugdale Nutrition veterinary technical manager, Dr Debby Brown.

However, if you are to maintain an efficient beef system with cattle achieving targeted growth, and adequately finishing and grading, then the challenge continues to maintain a good rumen microbial population and for optimum feed conversion. The key will be to supply the correct nutrients to balance effective rumen degradable protein and fermentable metabolisable energy.

AlkaGrain

Introducing alkasystems technology could provide the solution to making best use of homegrown barley and wheat, with enhanced protein levels together with improved digestibility.

The technology was developed after extensive research over three decades ago resulting in its foundation, Home ’n Dry, a one-step application in pelleted format to produce Alkagrain, a cost-effective supply of both starch and protein.

The pellet, when reacting with moisture in the cereals, releases ammonia which destroys microbes, moulds and some mycotoxins. Once the ammonia has been released by enzyme action, a further reaction occurs leaving behind alkaline ammonium salts, mainly ammonium bicarbonate.

The pH increases to 8.5 and consequently reduces the risk of sub-acute ruminal acidosis (SARA) safely allowing increased cereal content in the diet. Furthermore, the risk of liver abscesses and damage is minimised, as well as the chance of slaughter rejections.

The pellet’s 146% protein content adds a reliable 4-5% protein to the finished cereals, depending on the application rate which in turn reduces bought in protein costs.

R&D: Harper Adams University beef unit

Introducing Alkagrain to a diet fed to cattle in Harper Adams University’s beef finishing unit improved FCR by 5.3% and reduced overall feed costs by 8.5% carcase weight gain.

A mix of Continental cross and Holstein bulls were split into two groups: one fed a diet of Alkagrain analysing 14% CP and the other, a control fed ad lib barley mix including rape meal and soya.

At the end of the 30-week period, both groups recorded the same growth rates, however the cattle fed Alkagrain recorded a 5.3% improvement in FCR with less additional feed requirements.

“The response is likely to have resulted from binding the ammonium salts to the carbohydrate ensuring it slowly releases and in turn, results in better utilisation in the rumen,’ explains Debby Brown.

“Furthermore, the trial findings recorded a lower liver damage score of 1.25 among the cattle fed Alkagrain compared with 1.8 for the control, confirming that the treated grain reduced the incidence and risk of the liver abscessation associated with mild acidosis from high starch-based diets.”

Alkagrain

To find out more about Alkagrain 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