Quantify remaining silage stocks, recalculate feedout rates, and secure additional feeds now as delays to spring turnout leave many farms short of forage advises dairy nutritionists.

KW nutritionist Charlotte Ward said: "An extra two to three weeks fully housed can mean an additional 56t of ration dry matter for a typical 200-cow herd. So check forage and feed stocks now and get a plan of action in place.

“Make milking cows the priority. Growing animals will do fine on poorer quality forage plus a distillery syrup or high protein liquid feed and fill any remaining forage gaps with wheat-gluten moist feed, draff or brewers’ grains. These are high in energy, fibre and protein, and won’t upset the rumen if fed alongside a minimum 6-7kg DM/day of long chopped forage.”

Dry feed alternatives recommended by Ms Ward include custom blends and sodawheat, with wheatfeed probably the most cost-effective straight feed option. Good prices and availability make distillery liquids a good option where extra energy and rumen degradable protein is needed.

She also recommends that farmers concerned about rumen function being disrupted should consider a rumen conditioner or active live yeast and first cut dates should be recalculated before adding on the six weeks needed for silages to stabilise in the clamp.