14 July 1995

Big yielders best eaters

HIGH yielding Dutch dairy cows use forage more efficiently than lower yielding cows, claims Jan Vis of Waiboerhoeve research station, Holland.

That is the result of trials on the 55-cow dairy herd at Waiboerhoeve research farm, which boast an average yield of 9700kg at 4.00% fat and 3.50% protein.

Individual cow feed intakes are measured using weighing troughs and transponders.

The average dry matter intake is 22kg for a cow producing 35 litres. In early lactation cows eat 13.2kg of forage dry matter and 9.4kg of concentrate dry matter. But the intake of concentrate is 26kg/100 litres of milk, 4kg/100 litres lower than that of average yielding cows, he claims.

He adds: "Some cows eat over 30kg of forage dry matter a day, so are fed less concentrate than a cow eating 13kg."

The diet consists of 60% maize silage and 40% high dry matter grass silage, or cut grass in summer, plus 1kg sugar beet pulp, 1kg soya and high energy concentrate in out of parlour feeders.