Solutions for



Barley sprout replacement diet trial for dairy cows was conducted and the aim was replacement of concentrates and normal feed rations with sprouted barley sprouts. The trial was over a 21 day period with two Holstein cows well into their lactation cycle, which were separated from the herd in their own camp. The two cow’s usual daily ration consisted of 8kg of concentrate per day and the balance of their ration from pasture and lucerne amounting to a 22kg per cow per day. The aim is to replace the pasture ration with barley sprouts and roughage and slowly reduce the concentrate by a considerable percentage by the end of the trial.
  Where feeding fresh fodder, the main concern for farmers is the claim that 1 x 10kg tray of fodder will replace 3-4Kg of concentrate feed. One tray of sprouts weighs approximately 10Kg wet, produced from 1.5Kg of barley seed, and the concern is that the drop in dry weight fed will result in a decrease in productivity.
 Another issue that farmers have with feeding fresh barley sprouts is that they believe the level of nutrition won’t be as good as that in concentrate feed. This report contains feed analysis which shows the level of protein available within fresh sprouted barley. Coupled with the fact that some scientists support the idea that the live fresh feed improves the digestive performance of the gut, this means that the animal actually digests the rest of their diet more efficiently due to the addition of fresh barley sprouts to the diet. The reason we sprout barley as opposed to feeding the seed dry is that we change the digestibility from 40% – 90% as well as the chemical conversion from starches to sugars.

 Replacing 4kg of concentrate per cow per day which is a 50% reduction and to maintain weight and milk production with a fodder ration of 20kg at the end of the trial, without any negative effects at a fraction of the normal costs.

 Cows was milked in the morning at the same time they get there concentrate ration, from milking shed they are moved to their camp and given their fodder ration then later given their hay ration to fill up. The same routine is done in the afternoon.
 Rations are changed every three days until the reduction level of concentrate is achieved. (See table format weekly).
 Milk is recorded daily, weight taken weekly.

Calcium % 0.15
Potassium % 0.7
Magnesium % 0.24
Phosphorus % 0.46
Sulphur % 0.28
Boron Mg/kg 22
Copper Mg/kg 11
Iron Mg/kg 160
Manganese Mg/kg 37
Zinc Mg/kg 40
Crude Protein % 20.2
Fat % 4.3
Crude Fibre % 11.3
Starch % 15.4
Metabolic Energy (Ruminants) Mg/kg 12.1
4159 8 5th Holstein Good 50 71
3090 9 6th Holstein Good 52 73


 Day 1 – 3: ration 14kg fodder, 8kg flour (normal ration in the shed), 10kg hay per cow per day, half the ration in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. The cows took two days to start to eat the sprouts due to some pasture in the camp. The weather was extremely hot over the period 28-33 degrees Celcius.
 Day 3 – 6: ration 16kg fodder, 7kg flour, 10kg hay. We reduced the flour ration by 1kg and increased the sprouted barley ration by 2kg. The cows were still getting used the barley sprouts, they were still not quite finishing their ration.
 The milk production during this time:
 Cow 4159 produced an average of 27 litres per day entering into the trial. She now was producing 25.93 litres per day over a reduction of 1.07 litres per day over the first 6 days her starting weight 518kg 50 days into lactation.
 Cow 3090 produced an average of 24 litres of milk per day during this phase she produced 22.51 litres per day and a decrease 1.49 litre per day over the last 6 days 594kg 50 days into lactation. The entire herd was down by up to 4 litres per cow per day.
 Day 7-10: Cow 4159, 478kg vs a entry weight of 518kg. A reduction of 40kg over the first week. Cow 3090, 528kg vs a entry weight of 594kg. A reduction of 60kg over the first week.
 Daily ration per cow at 18kg fodder, 6kg meel, 10kg hay. Animals starting to really enjoy the fodder they have become a lot calmer and tamer in the camp, they even come up to you for the fodder. They are eating the entire ration of feed per day.
 Day 10 – 12: the ration changes to 20kg fodder, 5kg meel, 10kg hay. Cows are asking for the fodder when it’s time for feeding, their energy has increased, you can see that they are a lot happier than before, it appears that their stomach is adapting to the new food very well.
 Milk production during this period:
 Cow 4159 – produced 27.2 litres per day compared to a normal avg of 27ltr (an increase of 200ml during this period).
 Cow 3090 – produced 22.4 litres per day compared to a normal avg of 24ltr per day (a decrease of 1.6ltr per day).
 The heat wave continued over a few days of the week, the rest of the milking herd was still down by close to 4 litres per cow, the farmer has now increased his concentrate feed and increased the potency of the concentrate to try and increase the milk production, at a much higher cost than the average he normally pays.
 Day 13 – 20: Daily ration 20kg fodder, 4kg meel, 10kg hay per cow per day. Cows are now very comfortable with the fodder and the 50% reduction in meel per day. All food is finished during feeding time; animals are a pleasure to work with, very responsive and calm, no sudden movements or scared or running away.
 Milk production during this period:
 Cow 4159 – produced 27.37 litres per day compared to a normal average of 27 litres per day (an increase in production of 370ml per day).
 Cow 3090 – produced 21.83 litres per day compared to a normal average of 24ltrs (a decrease of 2,17 litres per day).
 The rest of the herd has increased production by 2 litres per cow per day, still down by 2 litres. Cooler weather and some rain fell during this period.
 Cow 4159 – Starting weight of 518kg, a loss of 40kg in the first week, two weeks later a great recovery to 528kg an increase of 10kg over such a short period on fodder.
 Cow 3090 – Starting weight of 594kg, a loss of 60kg after the first week, two weeks later a great recovery to 592kg, very close to its starting weight over such a short period.
 COSTS: pricing – 2012
 Meel @ R2870 per ton (old meel strength before the herd was down by 4ltr per cow current ,meel @ R3200 per ton)
 Fodder (costs during trial 2012):
 Power consumption: 1kw per hour @ R0.68c per kwh Water consumption: 2.2ltr per kg of fodder Seed (2012 costs):
 R3000 per ton ex VAT plus transport. Seed conversion is 1.5kg of seed equals to 10kg fodder Ration at the start:
 Meel 8kg @ R22.96 per cow per day Fodder 14kg @ R9.80 per cow per day Total: R32.76 per cow (avg of 25.5ltr of milk per day between the two)
 Ration at the end:
 Meel 4 kg @ R11.48 per cow per day Fodder 20kg @ R14.00 per cow per day Tot R25.48 per (avg of 24.25ltr of milk per day between the two)
 Total saving of R7.28 per cow per day – 2012 pricing

 After 21 days of introducing the barley sprouts to the two Holsteins, we ended up reducing the concentrate ration by 50% and replaced the ration with sprouted fodder.
 We have had a remarkable turnaround in weight loss to gains, milk production levels remaining steady, and a slight reduction considering that the rest of herd was down by 4ltr per day per cow.
 With a R7.28 saving per animal per day on cost. 2kg of fodder will equal to 1kg less concentrate in the shed. – Pricing in 2012