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Roughage Extender

Show Me Energy Cooperative (SMEC) has developed a Roughage Extender made from locally-grown forages. These materials are inherently variable in protein, so a minimal amount of a protein ingredient or processed grain co-product, like soybean meal or distillers grains, is added to the ground roughage prior to pelleting to assist with pellet mill throughput and to standardize the protein level. Quality premiums are paid by SMEC as they purchase the roughages. This encourages producers to harvest under optimal conditions, minimizing the amount of costly ingredients like soy or distillers proteins SMEC has to use to meet nutrient guarantees.

The resulting pellet is green in color, has a pleasant hay-like aroma, and is palatable to cattle. Even after pelleting and rehydration in a wet environment like the rumen, the ground forage from which the pellet is made still gives the product adequate roughage, or “scratch” effect. With minor adjustment in other ration ingredients, the roughage extender can be used to replace more expensive feedstuffs like soybean hulls while improving the safety of the ration in self-feeding situations.

GUARANTEES and TYPICAL ANALYSIS (as-fed basis)

  Guarantee Typical
Dry matter   89%
Crude protein Minimum 8% 8 – 10%
Crude fat Minimum 4.5% 5%
Crude fiber Maximum 30% 28%
Calcium (Ca)   0.39%
Phosphorus (P)   0.25%
Magnesium (Mg)   0.24%
Potassium (K)   1.70%
Net energy for maintenance (NEm)   0.48 mcal/lb
Net energy for gain (NEg)   0.17 mcal/lb

 

How is it used?

Use Roughage Extender in cow-calf operations when pasture quantity or quality becomes limiting, or in the winter if cured roughages (hay, haylage, balage or silage) are in short supply. Similarly, use it as a roughage extender in backgrounding rations. Silage or haylage based TMR programs frequently find roughage supplies to be limited or exhausted in the spring or early summer…while silage or haylage harvest is still 2 to 4 months away.

Use it to create safety anytime a grain or concentrate mix is offered via a self-feeder. This includes creep feeds, preconditioning and receiving feeds, and heifer development and bull conditioning feeds. Soy hulls are frequently used in these situations, but with this practice comes very little assurance of safety. Although soy hulls are relatively high in fiber, they impart virtually no roughage or “scratch” benefit, which is crucial to rumen health.

Formulate it into self-fed finishing rations to replace easy-to-mix but expensive roughages like soy hulls or cottonseed hulls, or hard-to-manage roughages like ground hay or straw which are problematic with regard to separation and/or flow. Also, with the use of a self-fed finishing ration comes the temptation to offer hay or straw via a bale ring. Recent field tests have shown finishing cattle to voluntarily consume upwards of 5 lb. of long hay or straw daily when their ration was formulated to provide not more than 2 lb. This excessive roughage intake is enough to reduce rate of gain by up to 0.5 lb. daily and increase the amount of feed required to put on a pound of gain by about 17%. Instead, roughage intake using the roughage extender is easy to monitor and control, and eliminates the need to manage a bale ring.

This roughage extender qualifies for all-natural programs.