It is important that lactating dairy cows have at least forage continuosly available to them if milk yields and health are to be maintained.
Shortfalls in silage stocks have to be made up by purchasing, possibly hay. brewers grains or such like. Another alternative is to feed more compound, this reduces the demand for silage but is obviously, costly.
Untreated straw is rarely considered as an alternative because of its low feed value. Methods of improving the feed value of straw with alkalis have long been available. However, improvements in feed values are variable although specific methods of treatment are recognised as giving consistently good results.
Ammonia treatment, leaves straw in its long form which is unsuitable for feeding in forage box or complete diet systems. Effective chopping and distribution of NaOH and consistent improvements in straw digestibility can be acheived with machines now available. Not only is the product palatable and easy to include in complete feeds but claims are made that, because its inclusion’ increases intake of the ration, milk yields will also increase,