Origin Fertilisers has developed Sweet-Grass, a new range of grassland fertilisers containing sodium, specifically designed to increase animal performance from grass. PARAMETER NITROGEN ONLY NITROGEN + SODIUM %+/- DMI (kg/cow/day) 14.0 16.6 + 18.6% D value (%) 71.6 72.9 + 1.8% Sugar content (%) 29.4 32.3 + 9.9% Milk yield (l/cow/day) 22.6 24.7 + 9.3% Butterfat (g/cow/day) 833 963 + 15.6% Cell count (SCC) Significantly reduced The key to maximising DMI is highly palatable grass that encourages longer grazing time, higher bite rates and better utilisation of forage. Although sward composition, length of ley and soil fertility all impact on palatability, applying sodium to grass is the simplest and most economic method of ensuring optimum palatability. Extensive trials by the University of Bangor have shown that sodium can increase grass quality and animal performance. Sodium increases the sugar content of grass making it sweeter and more palatable, and it also stimulates saliva production which increases appetite. This combination of higher palatability and increased appetite ensure higher DMI and improvements in animal output. The table below shows the Bangor data. Applying agricultural salt – which contains 50% sodium – creates additional work and is not particularly efficient as sodium is not tightly held in the soil. Ideally, sodium should be applied little and often – 10kg/ha for each grazing cycle – to ensure maximum availability and uptake. Sweet-Grass contains a high quality granular sodium that is compatible with other nutrients, which allows it to be applied within the standard fertiliser programme without any additional work. Sweet-Grass can be applied throughout the grazing season at 125-250kg/ha to provide optimum inputs of sodium along with nitrogen and sulphur. Additional micronutrients, e.g. selenium, cobalt and copper, can also be added on request. Dry matter intake (DMI) from grass and forage is a critical driver of profitability in livestock farming. CASE STUDY: ROBERT FLEMING AT AGRII’S FORAGE iFARM, SOUTH MILTON, STRANRAER, JUNE 2016 Agrii conducted a ‘live’ grazing demonstration on sodium with our Forage iFarm partner, Robert Fleming in June 2016. Ammonium nitrate and Sweet-Grass were applied to the right and left hand side of the field respectively. After an hour all the cows and calves were grazing on the Sweet-Grass side of the field due to the higher levels of palatability, as can be seen in the image below. MEET THE FARMER “I treated half a field with ammonium nitrate and the other half with Origin Sweet-Grass and put cows and calves into the field as a trial. The cattle could clearly be seen preferentially grazing the Sweet-Grass side as opposed to the area that was treated with straight nitrogen. The Sweet-Grass application encouraged intake which should allow us to maximise the cattles’ potential from grazed grass.” ROBERT FLEMING South Milton, Glenluce SWEET-GRASS STRAIGHT NITROGEN GRASSLAND FERTILISERS FOR BETTER ANIMAL HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE Source: University of Bangor data Agrii nutrition services Please contact customer services: e: livestock@agrii.co.uk t: 0845 6073322 Please contact customer services: e: livestock@agrii.co.uk t: 0845 6073322 35 CROP NUTRITION 34 CROP NUTRITION