5 May 1995

EG brings big savings in Cornwall

ENGLANDS sole platform speaker at the Reaseheath conference claiming to practice EG was Ben Mead, who runs 88 Holstein Friesians at 69ha (170-acre) Pengreep Farm, Truro, Cornwall.

Mr Mead has studied the Irish techniques and introduced EG for the first time last year when the herd was grazed until Dec 14. This turnout was delayed till Mar 15, due to laying a new roadway.

His March Milkminder figures showed an average herd yield of 5230 litres off 1t of concentrates. "The trend is towards yields rising slightly, but cake use dropping to 700kg by the end of the year," said Mr Mead.

Yield from forage is 3053 litres, with 60% of it coming from cheap grazed grass rather than silage. Since switching to EG, he calculates he is saving 79p a cow a day in reduced cake and silage costs, with increased milk yield and milk quality giving a total extra financial return of over £1 a cow a day.

"Extra benefits are better health and fertility leading to reduced vet costs and lower culling and herd depreciation.

"There is also less slurry spreading, less silage making, less straw consumption and a shorter winter yard work period. And higher numbers of cows enable more calf sales, increasing farm revenue and profit potential within our quota restrictions," said Mr Mead.

Johnny Bax from the Scottish Agricultural Colleges Crichton Royal Farm, Dumfries, described how he is extending just the autumn grazing season with grass and white clover swards.

"Last year the herd was grazed every day except two until Dec 6, with a silage saving of 10t DM," said Mr Bax.