21 February 1997

Concentrates under attack

DAIRY consultants are still over-rating the milk yield from concentrate, to the detriment of grass use.

That was the message from British Grassland Society president, Jerry Rider, speaking at the societys Seeds of Progress conference in Nottingham this week.

"Grass is one of our most important national assets, yet it is the most massively under-valued resource in the UK. The main reason is the myth that 1kg concentrate produces 2.5kg milk.

"For the best part of 50 years, this myth has sustained the compound feed industry to the detriment of grass. Even today, Genus deducts two litres of milk from every kg of supplementary feed given to my cows to get a figure of milk from forage," said Mr Rider.

Results discussed at the BGS winter meeting had shown that concentrate response was less than predicted, he said.

"Sinclair Mayne reported responses of 0.55, 0.77 and 0.84kg milk in return for each kg of concentrate fed to cows giving 25, 30 and 35kg milk a day at turnout."

And while the perceived hallmark of success was margin over concentrate, studies had shown that milk from forage was a more accurate measure of profitability in the dairy herd, he pointed out.

"I am not decrying the necessary use of concentrates and alternative forages, but let us judge them for what they are – more expensive supplements to grass." &#42