• Feed straw effectively by harnessing the benefits with molasses based liquid feed supplementation

  • In times of forage shortage, straw offers an excellent base for a ration, however, palatability, intakes and a low protein content can cause challenges

  • Molasses based liquid feeds increase palatability and intakes as well as drive rumen microbial activity making it the ideal complimentary feed alongside straw

  • The addition of Regulated Release protein in our ED&F Man liquid feeds provides an excellent source of rumen degradable protein alongside the sugars from cane molasses creates the ideal balance of protein and energy for the rumen

When to feed straw and molasses

  • Buffer feeding during grazing period is essential to both meet animal nutrient requirements and maximise performance (animal growth and milk yield)

  • Rather than using limited grass silage within a buffer feed, straw and molasses can be utilised to replace a proportion of grass silage helping extend forage stocks for winter

  • Alternatively, many suckler herds utilise a diet of mainly straw and molasses to meet maintenance requirements

  • When feeding predominantly straw and molasses as a diet, make sure to follow our feeding recommendations to avoid metabolic issues

Why feed straw and molasses?

  • Straw is an excellent base for ruminant diets where silage is in short supply, however there are challenges with palatability, digestibility, and low protein content

  • There are several ways of improving both animal intakes and how the rumen can utilise straw to make it into a better nutritional substitute for silage

  • The key to replacing silage with straw is by maximising its digestibility by promoting high levels of rumen activity and fermentation

  • With this in mind, molasses based liquid feeds offer the ideal compliment to straw feeding as it is highly palatable and drives rumen microbial activity

  • Research has shown that a molasses-based liquid feed can positively influence fibre digestibility beyond that of molasses or sugar on its own over a 48-hour period, see table 1

  • This can increase the digestibility of straw and enhance the nutrients available to the animal

Control CANE MOLASSES Pure Starch Pure Sugar LIQUID FEED
8h 28.5 31.88 31.54 30.19 29.75
24h +4.2 +8.98 +3.67 +3.17 +10.64
48h +20.54 +25.81 +21.67 +21.37 +31.29

Table 1: Fibre Digestibility (% improvements) with added carbohydrate supplements

What to feed

Products such as Regumix, Regupro and PotBlack contain Regulated Release protein, this releases the rumen degradable protein at a steady rate into the rumen that is compatible with the rumen microbial activity.

Coupled with a high sugar content, these feeds offer the ideal combination of fermentable energy and available protein to drive rumen efficiency and animal performance.

Table 2 below highlights different feeding options alongside straw in order to replace 10kg of grass silage.

Grass Silage Regumix PotBlack Regupro 38 Regupro 50
Straw (kg) 2.1 2.1 2.2 2.4
Regumix (kg) 1
Potblack (kg) 1.1
Regupro 38 (kg) 1
Regupro 50 (kg) 0.8
Dry Matter fed (kg) 2.5 2.5 2.6 2.5 2.6
Sugars as fed (g) 50 392 327 218 243
Protein as fed (g) 300 254 228 305 324
MJ as fed 25 21.2 20.5 20.5 20.2

Grass Silage (25% DM, 10 ME, 12% CP, 2% Sugar)
Barley Straw (87% DM, 6.8ME, 4% CP, 2% sugar)
Table 2 Molasses and straw feeding options

Feeding Recommendations

  • Ensure cattle have access to fresh water

  • Additional mineral supplementation is required in high straw based diets

  • Allow the rumen two weeks adaptation period when making changes to the diet and gradually make changes over this period