VOERMOL LANDELEK FOR THE OPTIMAL UTILISATION OF CROP RESIDUES AND FORAGE MAIZE
Hendrik van Pletzen (Voermol Feeds)
Above-average and well-scattered rains have contributed to a large harvest of maize on most farms in the summer grain area. Huge amounts of crop residues are available to overwinter livestock and the strategic supplementing of Voermol Landelek (V 15414) provides the opportunity to add value to residues and forage maize.
Characteristics of Maize Stalks
· High carrying capacity of 0.8–1.4 LSU/ha for 90–120 days. The carrying capacity can be even higher with this year’s high yield.
· High energy value. As a result of the low maize price and high cost of labour maize cobs will not be picked up.
· Protein value is marginal to low for cows with calves, ewes with lambs, weaner calves and weaner lambs.
· Trace elements are low, especially zinc, copper and manganese and selenium on heavier soils.
· Wethers who graze on maize residues for a long time (75 days and longer) develop bladder stones.
· Acidosis is a huge problem that leads to mortality and poorer growth. The more grain on the ground (and cobs that are not picked up), the greater the problem.
Forage Maize (“Weimielies”)
· Carrying capacity of forage maize is determined by grain yield. For every 1 ton of grain there are 1 000 sheep grazing days (45-50 kg sheep). With a grain yield of, for example 5t/ha, the carrying capacity is 55 sheep/ha for 90 days. Carrying capacity can be increased by adjacent rested camps.
· Dual-purpose weaner lambs (wool and meat) with a starting weight of 30-34 kg add the best value to forage maize. At current prices a ‘maize price’ of approximately R3 200/t can materialise.
· Ewes with lambs can also utilise forage maize, but do not add as much value as weaner lambs. Lambing ewes fatten on forage maize and in the following lambing season up to 68% produce twins.
· Cattle utilise forage maize poorly with huge waste as a result and sheep need to follow cattle to clean up the land.
· Forage maize basically has the same feeding limitations as maize stalks, as discussed above.
Management Guidelines to Optimally Utilise Crop Residues and Forage Maize
· Voermol Landelek has been developed to supplement deficiencies and limit feeding problems on residues of maize, grain sorghum, sunflowers and forage maize.
· Forage maize can already be grazed in the hard-dough phase – this facilitates adaptation.
· Sheep on forage maize must be processed beforehand, i.e. inoculated against enterotoxaemia, treated against internal and external parasites and implanted with an ear implant.
· Steady adaptation to maize is important. Give Landelek at least 14 days before sheep are put on maize fields and adapt maize steadily over the 14 days. Begin with 200 g of maize or maize cobs/sheep/day and increase by 100 g every second day.
· Provide fresh Landelek in troughs daily, with a feeding space of at least 5 cm/sheep.
· Place lick troughs close to water troughs to ensure good intake.
· Monitor lick intake. The recommended intake of Landelek is 200 g per 45-50 kg sheep. Bigger (heavier) sheep need 300 g/day. Clean water troughs at least once daily.
· Move sheep to fresh blocks in good time – grain must still be visible.
· A ‘B’ flock, i.e. dry animals with lower nutrient requirements, graze at the back to clean the land.
· Sheep that are not adapted, should not be added to an ‘adapted’ flock.
· Monitor animals for symptoms of acidosis – animals are stiff and move with difficulty, diarrhoea, dehydrate and their dung smells acid.
· Withdraw sick sheep and treat with ant-acid agent. Feed roughage (preferably lucerne hay), gradually start feeding maize again and move healthy animals back to the field.
· Landelek is also recommended for cows with calves and weaner calves on crop residue grazing.
· The recommended intake for cattle on maize stalks is 0.8-1.2 kg Landelek/cow/day.
REMEMBER – Voermol Landelek and the above-mentioned management measures will drastically reduce the risk of acidosis. Since a few animals in a flock eat little or no lick, it is impossible to guarantee that no acidosis will be found. Landelek contains medicaments and should not be fed to horses.