Straw is one of the fodder that is best integrated into the feed of all types of livestock, and it can be used as an ingredient in an infinite number of circumstances, the most recommended being:

  • When using maize silage as the main forage or when having maize silage with high levels of starch, as straw helps to achieve the required fibre levels for proper rumen function
  • When we have first cut or very tender grass silos, straw optimises fiber levels and helps to achieve a homogeneous and fluffy mix that is much more palatable
  • When forage has little effective fiber, adding a small amount of straw can help to improve the pH and fermentative processes in the rumen
  • In dry and prepartum cow rations that should have potassium levels of less than 1.2%
  • For mix it with highly moisturized fodder in order to lower the ball formation
  • If we want to adjust ionic balance of the prepartum ration
  • In dry cow and heifer rations to control possible energy or protein excesses

Recommendations for the addition of straw to livestock diet

As always, the ideal feed varies, and we must be aware of things like the needs of the animal we are feeding, its age, moment in its life, the kind of product we intend to produce… 

Whatever the animal’s situation, it must always have access to fresh food, water and vast space in which to move and rest.

For dry cows

For dry cows, rations should ideally include between 3 and 6 kg of chopped straw of less than 5 cm. Why those centimetres? Because short chopping is essential to achieve high dry matter intakes that ensure proper rumen function and do not contribute to increasing the energy in the ration.

Afterwards, we can complete this ration with other kinds of fodder, selected on the basis of the protein, energy, vitamin and mineral needs of our animals.

For high-production cows

Straw for high-production cows should also be chopped between 2 and 5 centimetres to prevent them from selecting forage ingredients and to assure they are feeding on all the necessary components for their proper nutrition.

As generic recommendations to get the right amount of straw supplied to the cattle:

  • Straw should not be added routinely or without an analysis of the impact of that straw on the consumption and production levels of the animal
  • It should be chopped between 2.5 and 5 cm to avoid ingredient selection
  • The addition of this fodder has to be done gradually: start by feeding 200-500 grams and increase this amount by 100 grams per week every 5 to 7 days
  • After introducing the straw, pay attention to the state of the faeces, the evolution of the animal’s production, and the evolution of consumption and rumination
  • Monitor the ration to avoid possible adverse effects on the animals and to find out which is the ideal ration of fodder for each animal

Do you have any questions? Would you like more information about our straw? Do not hesitate to contact us.