26 March 1999

Cut those feed costs

PRODUCING whole-crop cereals on IACS registered land and claiming arable aid payments can cut feed costs compared with grass silage by as much as 0.4p/litre.

Harper Adams researcher Liam Sinclair said that analysis of costs for a 32% DM, low starch crop and a 40% DM, high starch crop illustrated the benefit of a later harvest to boost yields. This benefit was improved further with the ability to claim area aid payments of £266.87/ha (£108.04/acre) on the whole-crop which is unavailable for grass (see table).

Another advantage of whole-crop is less risk of aerobic spoilage in the clamp compared with grass silage. However, despite the higher DM whole-crop being cheaper to grow it carries a risk of being less aerobically stable than lower DM whole-crop, he warned.

Table please. Whole-crop growing costs £/ha (1996)

Grass silage (four cuts) Whole-crop wheat (low starch) Whole-crop wheat (high starch)

Seed 18.00 68.18 68.18

Establishment 30.00 56.41 56.41

Fertiliser 226.47 80.49 80.49

Slurry/FYM 10.00 – –

Sprays 3.92 176.03 176.03

Harvesting 281.98 164.79 146.38

Additive 58.90 – –

Storage costs (@£12/t DM) 128.37 145.20 187.26

Rent 125.00 125.00 125.00

Total cost 882.64 815.30 839.75

Area payment/ha – 266.87 266.87

Yield t/ha 10.7 12.1 15.6

Cost £/t DM 82.49 45.32 36.72

Whole-crop growing costs £/ha (1996)

Grass silage Whole-crop wheat Whole-crop wheat

(four cuts) (low starch) (high starch)

Seed 18.00 68.18 68.18

Establishment 30.00 56.41 56.41

Fertiliser 226.47 80.49 80.49

Slurry/FYM 10.00 – –

Sprays 3.92 176.03 176.03

Harvesting 281.98 164.79 146.38

Additive 58.90 – –

Storage costs

(@£12/t DM) 128.37 145.20 187.26

Rent 125.00 125.00 125.00

Total cost 882.64 815.30 839.75

Area payment/ha – 266.87 266.87

Yield t/ha 10.7 12.1 15.6

Cost £/t DM 82.49 45.32 36.72