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Reduce feed costs by increasing protein production from your own land

Have you already decided what to sow in the coming season? In these financially challenging times, farmers are looking for opportunities to lower their feed costs. Production of high quality silage or hay from their own land reduces the need to invest in additional protein sources. Furthermore, choosing a high quality grass and clover mixture will also reduce the costs of nitrogen purchases and increase animal health. Portuguese farmer Manel Sousa uses Barenbrug’s ProtaPlus to produce high quality hay and silage. How does he like the product and does it offer him financial benefits? 

Beef cattle and high quality forage
Manel Sousa owns a farm with 489 ha of land in Herdade da Lapagueira, Campo Maior, situated in the south of Portugal. He has a herd of over 270 productive crossbreed beef cattle and 50 to 70 breeding cows. An area of 70 ha is used to grow temporary crops in rotation, the rest of the land is devoted to olive production and natural prairies. On the farm an irrigation system with pivots is used on 82 ha. However, the availability of water is limited as the farm depends on rainfall and the nearby river for its water supplies. Normally the fields can be irrigated from late September until June.

Manel is an innovative farmer. He likes to produce in a sustainable way and looks for long-term instead of short-term benefits. His main goal is to produce quality silage and hay to feed his livestock, using triticale, oatmeal, ray grass and clovers.

Up to 30% more protein from your own land
 

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Last season, Manel started to sow Barenbrug’s ProtaPlus. ProtaPlus is an annual grass and clover mixture for 6 to 12 months, which is very suitable for protein production. Results of several trials by Barenbrug Research have shown that ProtaPlus can yield up to 20% more dry matter per hectare than pure ryegrass. Furthermore, the feed value and digestible protein in particular is substantially higher: 30-50%.

Manel has finished the cuts of the first season and is satisfied with the results: “ProtaPlus is a high quality product: its production has proven quantity and quality, high protein and high quality fibre. It is a product that can maximize production of quality soils with or without irrigation”.

 

Save on nitrogen expenses
 

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Producing more protein sources on your own land provides financial advantages and reduced purchases of nitrogen are another added financial bonus. The clovers in the ProtaPlus mixture are a natural nitrogen supplier. This is financially beneficial for the farmer, since he can reduce the amount of fertiliser he normally buys.  “I've used 300 kg/ha less nitrogen compared with Barspectra 2, which is an important save.” Manel confirms.

ProtaPlus at field day Lusosem 2016
In April 2016, a field day was organised by Portuguees Barenbrug distributor Lusosem. A group of 25 Portuguees farmers visited Manel’s farm and also saw his ProtaPlus field. Most of the farmers were unfamiliar with ProtaPlus and were interested to see its performance. “However, a lot of farmers are still unaware of the importance of high quality forage production “, Manel explains. “The majority want high quantity at a minimum price, although they are producing a low quality feed. I would like to encourage my colleagues to invest in high quality protein production and experience the benefits”.

Are you ready to experience the benefits of ProtaPlus? Try it in the coming season!