Increasing the palatability and digestibility of grass

It is well established that the application of Sodium (Na) fertiliser to productive grassland will increase the concentration of Na in the herbage and the herbage Dry Matter Digestibility (DMD). Studies have shown that for up to about 65kg Na/ha/yr, a linear increase in DMD of herbage can be achieved.

    • Research shows that where the application of Na fertiliser increases herbage Na content, dairy cows prefer that herbage – i.e. increasing biting rate, increasing time grazing, grazing the sward down to a lower height, with a decrease in proportion of rejected material (Chiy and Phillips, 1991, 1993a; Phillips et al. 1999; Chiy et al. 1998; Chiy and Phillips, 2000). All these factors result in higher grass Dry Matter (DM) intakes.
    • Also a lower post grazing sward height means better grass utilisation and better quality grass re-growth. The application of Na fertiliser also increases the water soluble carbohydrates (WSC) content of the herbage and the live proportion of the leaf (Chiy and Phillips, 1993, 1998).
    • Research also shows that where Na fertiliser was applied to productive pastures (consisting mainly of perennial ryegrass), cows had increased milk yields, milk fat and lactose concentration compared to cows grazing pasture that did not receive Na fertiliser (Chiy and Phillips 1991; Chiy et al. 1993a 1999; Chiy and Phillips 2000; Phillips et al., 2000).
    • Furthermore, studies have shown that milk somatic cell count (SCC) was reduced in cows grazing pasture that received Na fertiliser (Chiy and Phillips 2000; Phillips et al., 2000).

Gouldings were the first Irish company to include Sodium (Na) in a product that is designed for use on grassland. “Sweetgrass” was developed by Gouldings in 2002 as an alternative to C.A.N. and C.A.N. + sulphur. It is C.A.N. based with added sulphur, sodium and magnesium.

Sweetgrass:

      • 23% Nitrogen
      • 2% Sulphur
      • 5% Sodium
      • 1.2% Magnesium

View more about this product here.