Sowing an earlier crop of maize this spring could help make up for potential shortfalls in winter forage next winter and maintain cow performance at a critical time in the year, according to crop experts.
KWS sales manager John Morgan said planting one crop of maize so that it is ready to harvest three weeks before the main crop can provide security for larger dairy or beef herds, especially those that need to lift the performance of fresh autumn calving cows.
“Last year a lot of herds had run out of silage because of the dreadful summer and they went into the autumn 2-3 litres off the place where they should have been,” said Mr Morgan, speaking at a KWS press conference at the company offices in Gloucester.
“But when the maize came in it turned the performance around dramatically.
“You can feed maize very quickly indeed – within a day. It is not going to upset your cows. However, the longer you leave it the better it will perform.”
He advised farmers considering this option to get maize analysed to ensure it was sufficient quality, targeting 30% dry matter and 30% plus starch and minimum of 11.5MJ/kg.