27 November 1998

Good substitutes for concentrates

CEREALS, bread or molasses could be more cost-effective for supplementing poor-quality maize silage than offering bought-in concentrate this winter.

Axients Rob Burcham says silage quality, particularly in marginal areas, could be poor. "Its likely many crops wont have matured fully, resulting in cobs which arent fully formed, reducing starch content."

When feeding a 28% dry matter low starch silage in a 50:50 maize:grass ration to cows producing 35 litres of milk, extra fermentable feed will be needed, says Mr Burcham. Feed either 3kg to 4kg of bread, 2.5kg to 3kg rolled wheat or up to 1.5kg molasses/cow a day, depending on the price and supply.

High dry matter silages will need supplementing with soya or rapemeal.

when cutting height wasnt lifted, producers will be feeding a high fibre, low fementable silage, adds Mr Burcham. When fed to cows giving 15 litres of milk on a 33:66 maize, grass ration with maize intakes of 4kg dry matter/cow a day, cows will need soya or rape to supplement forage, depending on silage quality.