“I would like to express my sincere thanks to Dr. Jasper Coetzee and Voermol Feeds for allowing me to publish this article on SAGenetics’s website. I do believe in sharing knowledge everyone interested in farming can, and will, benefit” Dr Erika de Jager

VOERMOL PRODUCTS INCREASE ANIMAL PERFORMANCE ON GREEN PASTURES

Dr. Jasper Coetzee, Voermol Feeds
(Phone no.: +27 21 8879559; 0833 86 83 82; jasperco@iafrica.com)

Farmers and animals in the summer rainfall area are looking forward to the first spring rains, which transform the dry winter grass into vivid green natural grassland. The onset of the new growing season often coincides with a period of increased nutritional needs (e.g. mating season, lactation or finishing animals for slaughter).

In order to ensure a high pregnancy rate or a high slaughter mass with excellent grading, it is important to get the animals into an excellent condition as soon as possible. This is only possible if the animals receive the correct supplementation on green pasture. To ensure maximum animal performance, the correct choice of the available licks must be made.

Phosphorus is generally regarded as the first limiting nutrient that restricts animal performance on natural grassland. Both phosphorus and trace minerals are supplemented simultaneously via a phosphorus lick, proven in trials to increase growth of cattle by up to 130 – 320 g/day. All Voermol’s green pasture supplements contain the five critical macro minerals (phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, sulphur and sodium) as well as very high levels of the six most essential trace elements to ensure excellent animal performance.

Where further increased growth of animals on green pasture is necessary, energy is the second limiting nutrient, which should be supplemented along with phosphorus, macro minerals and trace elements. Energy supplementation is relatively expensive and these supplements should therefore contain an ionophore. The ionophore ensures more effective energy utilisation, making it more cost effective and also aids with limiting the breakdown of protein in the rumen of the ruminant, consequently improving production.

These types of supplements have been used successfully in trials to improve growth by up to 10 – 44 %. Voermol Feeds markets a range of products, each one for a specific purpose on green pastures.

Voermol Superfos (V17422)

Voermol Superfos has only been on the market for two seasons, but has already been established as one of the best products in its class. Several producers reported achieving excellent results where this product was used as a supplement on natural grassland.

Voermol Superfos is a ready-mixed, molasses-based phosphorus and trace mineral supplement for both cattle (120 – 240 g/day) and small stock (20 – 40 g/day). This product is more palatable than the traditional green season licks, which ensures that most animals in the herd will take in sufficient amounts, resulting in enhanced animal performance.

Also, on lush green pasture and in sweet veld areas where traditional phosphorus lick intakes are low, sufficient intakes are ensured. Voermol Superfos is one of the products with the highest and best-balanced trace mineral compositions on the market.

Part of the trace minerals are in organic form, which significantly increase the absorption of trace minerals resulting in enhanced animal performance due to increased immunity, growth and fertility.

Voermol Superfos contains 15 % protein, a low salt level and extra magnesium as well as narrow calcium to phosphorus ratio. The low salt and calcium levels make this product highly suitable as a supplement where excessive salt and calcium levels should be avoided.

Due to the moderate protein content of Voermol Superfos, it can also be used as a transitional lick at the end of the green season. It also supplies sufficient protein, which ensures continued animal performance should the pasture’s protein content drops too low due to a mid-summer drought, as is sometimes the case.

This simplifies adaptation to a lick with a high urea content on dry winter veld, reducing the risk of urea poisoning. The high trace mineral and low salt levels of Voermol Superfos also makes it possible to use as a raw material in the mixing of other rations such as dairy meal, calf meal and protein licks.

Voermol Phosphate Block (V10264)

Voermol Phosphate Block is a mineral supplement in block format on green pasture, which is easy to handle and convenient to use especially where there are no lick troughs available.

It has reasonably good weather resistance and consequently results in almost no losses due to wind and rain. The purpose of this mineral supplement is to increase the animal’s mineral status, subsequently improving reproduction, growth and production.

One phosphate block is fed to every 50 small stock or 25 head of cattle in the herd to ensure a daily intake of 17 to 40 g/small stock (i.e. sheep and goats) and 100 to 240 g/head of cattle. In extensive areas where licks are not regularly supplied, it is essential to supplement with Voermol Phosphate Block not only to supplement phosphorus, but also to increase the animal’s trace element reserves.

In these areas, one often finds induced trace element deficiencies due to the excessive intake of certain antagonistic minerals such as calcium, iron and sulphur and, in some instances, molybdenum. It also contains a relatively low salt level, preventing the consequences of excessive salt intake. This block is also highly recommended for dairy cows on green cultivated pastures.

Voermol Rumevite 12P (V11994)

Voermol Rumevite 12P is a molasses-based mineral concentrate, containing both macro minerals and trace elements. It should be mixed with equal parts of salt to provide a P6 lick, which stimulates the production of growing and producing animals on green pasture.

The recommended intake of the lick mixture is 17 to 40 g/small stock/day and 100 to 240 g/head of cattle/day. Should the intake be too low, 50 kg of Rumevite 12P can be mixed with 50 kg salt and 40 kg Voermol Super 18 (V355) or Voermol Molasses Meal (V1995).

Voermol Rumevite 6P (V11995)

Voermol Rumevite 6P is a ready-mixed, molasses-based mineral lick, supplying both macro minerals and trace elements. It stimulates production of growing and producing animals on green pasture. The recommended intake is 17 to 40 g/small stock/day and 100 – 240 g/head of cattle/day.

Voermol Supermol (V7267)

Voermol Supermol is a ready-mixed, ionophore-containing energy and mineral supplement, with 20 % protein. Voermol Supermol is an ideal supplement to improve production or to finish animals on a lush dense stand of abundant, actively growing, palatable and green leafy natural grass veld of high quality.

A characteristic of summer veld is that the production (quantity) and quality is highly reliant upon the rainfall. The summer rainfall areas are characterised by alternating shorter, drier periods during which the veld quality quickly declines and the growth of animals decreases.

To combat this variation in summer veld quality the supplementation of Voermol Supermol is recommended. The recommended intake is 1.2 kg/head of cattle/day and 250g/small stock/day. Should the veld quality reduce too much or should the pastures be in the elongation stage, Voermol Supermol can be mixed with equal parts of maize meal and fed at 3 kg/head of cattle/day and 50 g/small stock/day.

Voermol Molovite (V10264)

Voermol Molovite is a ready-mixed, ionophore-containing, urea-free, energy and mineral supplement with 10 % protein, which is all derived from natural protein. The supplementation of Voermol Molovite on a lush dense stand of good quality, actively growing, green leafy fertilized cultivated pastures aims to improve production or to accelerate the finishing of animals.

Growth of weaner calves used in the development trails of Molovite was increased up to 62 % with supplementation of Voermol Molovite. The recommended daily intake is 1 kg/head of cattle and 200 g/small stock. For quicker finishing of animals, Voermol Molovite can be mixed with equal parts of maize meal and fed at 2 kg/head of cattle/day and 500g/small stock/day.

Voermol Superlamb Pellets (V17425)

Voermol Superlamb Pellets is a ready-mixed, ionophore-containing, energy rich and bypass protein-mineral-supplement specifically developed for the finishing of small stock on a dense stand of abundant, actively growing, palatable and lush, green, leafy, natural grassland or cultivated pastures of high quality.

Voermol Superlamb Pellets (500 g/small stock/day) give excellent results and aims to ensure trouble-free and profitable finishing of small stock, especially weaner lambs on any type of green pasture. With good quality green pasture, proper management and the supplementation of Superlamb Pellets, it is possible to obtain the similar average daily weight gain (ADG) as in feedlots.

The success of feeding a supplement in pellet format is partly attributable to the even and non-selective intake thereof as well as the fact that virtually all animals eat it.

Voermol Energy Block (V11456)

Voermol Energy Block is an ionophore containing, energy and mineral supplement with 15 % protein to improve production and growth on green pasture. One block is fed for every 20 small stock and 10 head of cattle in a herd, to ensure a daily intake of 250 to 400 g/small stock and 1.5 to 2 kg/head of cattle.

Due to the high energy and trace element content as well as the inclusion of an ionophore, this block also gives good response as a supplement on green pasture to improve production. Voermol Energy Block can also be used as a supplement for dairy cows on green pasture to supply additional energy, trace elements and an ionophore, subsequently improving condition and fertility and increasing milk production.

Conclusion

By using the correct product for the right purpose on green pasture, a continuous and excellent as well as cost-effective response can be achieved. By using supplements such as Voermol Supermol, Molovite, Superlamb Pellets and Energy Block to finish animals on green pasture, the finishing period can be reduced by up to 30 days or even more.

This ensures that the animals can be marketed earlier and that pastures can be reserved for other animals. Where animals are finished on green pasture it is highly recommended that animals should be implanted with a suitable ear implant since it increases growth and improves feed conversion.

If specific lick recipes are required for supplementation on green pasture or any other information, contact Voermol Head Office on (032 – 4395599) or send an e-mail to info@voermol.co.za.

Should you require any advice on animal nutrition, write to:
Dr. Jasper Coetzee, Voermol Feeds, P O Box 13, Maidstone 4380
Or phone 032 – 439 5599 or send e-mail to: info@voermol.co.za

The Nutrition of Lactating Boer Goat Ewes

Dr Jasper Coetzee, Voermol Feeds
Tel: +27 21 8879559; 0833 86 83 82; jasperco@iafrica.com)

Due to the high lambing percentage of Boer goat ewes, particular attention should be paid to the nutrition of ewes rearing multiples. Supplementary feeding of these ewes should commence as soon as pregnancy has been ascertained by means of scanning.

This would normally happen during the second month of pregnancy. From this point on, these ewes should be kept in a separate flock until such time as their lambs are weaned. According to Hinch et al. (1985), birth weight is the most important factor influencing the survival rate of lambs.

The highest survival rate is achieved when the birth weight of the lambs is between 3.5 and 5.5 kg. Of critical importance is the growth of the placenta (afterbirth), because the size of the placenta determines the birth weight of the lamb as well as the size of the udder.

A small placenta results in an increase in lamb mortality because of the low birth weight of lambs (less than 3.5 kg), low survival rate of lambs, reduced mothering ability and low milk production (up to 25 % decrease in milk production) due to poor udder development.

The nutrition of ewes during the mid-term of pregnancy (2nd and 3rd month) is crucial because the bulk of the growth of the placenta takes place during this time, reaching its full size between day 90 and 100 of pregnancy.

Supplementary feeding during mid-pregnancy therefore plays a critical role in the survival and growth rate of multiples. Ewes carrying multiple foetuses should gain at least 100 g/day in weight during mid-pregnancy. If this cannot be achieved on the available pasture, then a suitable lick should be provided.

The type of lick that should be supplemented is dependent on the condition of the ewes, as well as the type, quality and amount of pasture on offer. One of the following licks can be supplemented: Voermol Ekonolek, Super 18, Production Lick, Winslek Concentrate, Protein or Energy Block. Voermol’s product guide can be consulted for feeding instructions.

In order to limit lamb mortalities, ewes carrying multiple foetuses should gain approximately 12 to 15 kg in weight during the last two months of pregnancy. For a ewe carrying twins the feeding requirement is 2.5 fold, and for one carrying triplets it is 3 fold higher than maintenance.

Seymour (1998) observes that 80 % of lamb deaths are related to the nutrition of the ewe during the last few weeks prior to and immediately after parturition. This therefore emphasises the importance of adequate nutrition during late pregnancy.

During the last 6 week (and sometimes 8 week) phase of pregnancy, ewes carrying multiple foetuses should be fed sufficient bypass protein to stimulate the development of the udder; increase the production of colostrum and milk; improve maternal behaviour and vitality of lambs at birth; reduce dystocia (lambs born with yellowish birth coat), and limit abnormally thick and viscous colostrum.

All of these combine to limit lamb mortalities and/or increase the growth rate of lambs. Supplementing bypass protein to lactating sheep on poor quality pasture increases the weight of lamb weaned per ewe up to 5.1 kg, and the subsequent lambing percentage up to 28 %.

The provision of a high bypass protein supplement such as a Maxiwol Lick mixture (250 kg Voermol Maxiwol + 200 kg milled maize or whole small grain + 50 kg salt); Maxiwol Production Pellets, Maxiwol Ready-Mix or Maxi Block is essential for Boer goat ewes carrying multiple foetuses. Commence supplementary feeding with one of these Maxiwol licks at 300 g/ewe/day from 6 to 8 weeks prior to lambing, increasing the feeding level from 4 weeks prior to parturition up to 400 g/ewe/day.

In addition to the other requisite dosing and vaccination, inject ewes with Multimin plus Vitamin A and E four to six weeks prior to lambing.

The feeding level post-lambing should be such that the ewe does not lose more than 10 % of its weight. Experiments have indicated that where ewes lose more than 10 % in weight their subsequent lambing percentage decreases up to 25 percentage units and in one case up to 51 percentage units.

Therefore, in order to assure a high weaning weight as well as a high lambing percentage in the subsequent lambing season, the same bypass protein licks that were supplemented during late pregnancy should be fed during early lactation at a rate of 400 to 500 g/ewe/day for ewes rearing multiples.

The growth of twin lambs is compromised if the ewe experiences a food shortage for a period longer than 10 days. Local as well as international observations indicate that the provision of blocks (e.g. Voermol Maxi Block) during lambing causes less disturbance and thus reduces the risk of mismothering and ewes getting separated from their lambs.

The condition here is, however, that new blocks are provided before the old ones are completely consumed, that the process of placing the new blocks is done in a calm manner and that they are distributed throughout the camp. During lambing blocks should be provided at a rate of 15 ewes maximum per block.

If sufficient grazing is not available, additional hay, especially lucerne, should be provided at a rate of 750 to 1 500 g/ewe/day in order to ensure a high butterfat production. Milk with low butterfat content results in poor growth of lambs and a higher number of runt lambs.

The provision of creep feeding for multiples is highly recommended. Creep feeding (200 kg Voermol SS 200 + 150 kg Voermol HPC 36 + 80 kg Voermol Molasses Meal + 550 kg milled maize or whole barley) should be fed to lambs from two weeks of age until at least 14 days post-weaning.

For further information regarding the nutrition of Boer goats, as well as further details regarding specific lick recipes, write to Dr. Jasper Coetzee, Voermol Feeds, P. O. Box 13, Maidstone 4380, or phone Voermol’s Head Office (032 – 439 5599), or e-mail info@voermol.co.za.

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Boergoats in Namibia