5 April 2002

Cows love their maize crop ration

GROWING maize in the very marginal area of west Anglesey has been successful, and milk producer Trevor Lloyd is delighted with the results.

He hedged his bets by growing three early maturing varieties, but all yielded about 40t/ha (16t/acre) of fresh material.

"I was nervous and took all the advice I could get," says Mr Lloyd, who farms with his father Richard. "Maize is now being fed mixed with the same quantity of grass silage and a protein blend.

"Cows love the ration, they have lost less weight than usual over winter and yield persistency has been better. Cows are cleaner than they ever have been, their feet are better and yield is up.

"We have spent a lot of money on genetics and felt we had pushed yield from grass and grass silage as far as we could.

"Everyone was talking to us about maize. We had some sandy land that should allow us to harvest it in autumn and plenty of slurry, so we gave it our best shot."

The 170 cows in the Lloyds Islandpride herd at Ty Mawr Farm average 8000 litres, but Trevor is looking for another 1000 litres a cow and is prepared to use the concentrate needed to get cows to express their genetic potential.

But he also wants to optimise production from forage, which costings show at 3233 litres a cow. "We are trying to improve our all-round technical efficiency and ensure cows are working hard.

"This project has shown that a number of forage crops can be grown economically." &#42