How much forage do I need?

Again, it is only possible to give estimates of on-farm requirements because every farm will be unique.

All ruminants require fibre in their diet, as do horses. A ruminant requires at least 25% of the diet as long fibre in the form of forage. Horses need at least 1% of their bodyweight in long fibre to maintain healthy gut function.

Remember, if you feed the minimum required amount of forage, you will probably need to feed high levels of concentrates to meet the animals’ feed requirements, which can result in health problems (acidosis and laminitis in cattle).

Monthly feed requirements for various classes of stock

Livestock Silage (tonnes per month) Small hay or straw bales per month Hay or straw 1.3m round bales per month
Dairy cows - milking 1.5 17 1.25
Dairy cows - dry 1.0 10 0.75
Suckler cows - spring calving 1.0 10 0.75
Suckler cows - autumn calving 1.2 14 1.0
Other cattle - calves 0.3 4 0.3
Other cattle - 200-250kg 0.7 7 0.5
Other cattle - 250-350kg 0.8 8 0.6
Other cattle - 350+kg 1.0 10 0.75
Ewes 0.15 2 0.15
Rosemary Champion

About Rosemary Champion

Rosemary lives on a 12 acre smallholding in Angus, in the east of Scotland, where she keeps Ryeland Sheep, Shetland cattle and assorted poultry. She was destined to be a smallholder from an early age.

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