In widespread droughts, of long duration, the supply of hay (and its escalating price) forces beef producers to look for alternative roughage feeds. In some situations (e.g. lactating cows), some roughage is required to ensure reasonable production and adequate utilisation of high grain rations (i.e. to assist rumen function).
Most alternative roughages are low in quality with regard to energy, protein and digestibility, are bulky to transport (hence expensive to freight), can contain pesticide residues and are crop or food industry by-products. They are not complete feeds and must be fed (up to 2 kg/head/day as roughage) in conjunction with other energy feeds (such as grain or fortified molasses).
The availability of these alternative roughage sources is often inconsistent.
The contents of this Primefact include the following: