Stephen Caldwell

My name is Stephen Caldwell and it is a great pleasure for me to offer my services to you as part of Grass-science.

I am an independent nutritionist who graduated from SAC in Edinburgh. I have spent most of my life around livestock and have considerable experience of feeding cows and sheep and maintaining productive and healthy livestock.  For eight years I worked for a compound feed business, as a farm nutritionist, working with clients to design productive and profitable results from all feeds available. Aiming where possible to target home produced forages and feeds. 

One of my biggest strengths is my independence, which I value greatly. It permits me to offer you impartial advice and to challenge many pre-conceived ideas about the true feed potential of forage.

I firmly believe in the feed potential of forage and recognise that, for too long now, our focus has been on the compound feeds used in UK rations.  However the forage produced must be of a high quality to provide the optimal levels of energy and protein to the animal. Understanding the true benefits of feeding forage has never been more important for dairy farmers than it is today.

DAIRY:

Quality forage is the driver of milk production. It also improves cow health and benefits the environment by having a direct impact on performance, profitability and sustainability.

Producing forage is a compromise between yield and quality and can be a challenge. It is no accident that the most successful dairy herds are often those that pay attention to detail when growing the crops.  Grass-science can help you monitor these details at every step.

Feeding forage to cows is both a science and an art.  To formulate efficient rations we need to understand how forages actually work in the rumen and how they will interact with the other feeds offered. The forages must provide sufficient digestible fibre that can be converted into energy and protein and still encourage sufficient cudding to help control acidosis.

My job is to help you get the best performance from your forages. As part of Grass-science I can advise in planning their production and then use my nutritional expertise to ensure they feed well. This advice is accurately targeted and practical and could make a significant difference to your success.

BEEF:

Beef is produced in a variety of ways all of which aim to maximise the conversion of feed into meat. The targets are to improve the daily LWG and reduce the number of days to finishing. These key economic targets must be accompanied by a high kill-out percentage.

Forage can play an important role in fattening beef cattle but it is often the limiting factor in many systems. Good quality forage will increase LWG and shorten the production cycle but the forage needs to be well managed and produced at an economic cost. Forage crops such as red clover mixtures, lucerne or even whole crop beans can provide significant dietary protein provided they are grown, ensiled and used correctly in the ration. I can help you achieve this with the aim of reducing your bills for bought in protein.

Let’s consider the fertility of the cows: producing a calf per year is a must for beef calving units, forage balance and production should help to aid calving and the next year’s fertility.

SHEEP:

The range of sheep enterprise is vast and the intensity of production within these enterprises varies from one farm to the next.

Most production systems still rely heavily on grazed grass and forage through the winter months. Whether it is hay or silage, the forage quality is still important, so is providing consistency in the diet for the lactating ewe on a daily basis.

Supplying sufficient forage can be a challenge when trying to grow replacement breeding stock or finishing lambs. The solutions include improving yields from the existing acreages, the forage quality or both. The aim is to maximise conversion rates, reduce the kg of concentrates fed and increase stock throughput. 

Stephen Caldwell
07740 471423
stephen@grass-science.co.uk

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