26 September 1997

Lower fat with maize rations

MAIZE distillers can reduce milk fat without reducing yield, and lower the costs of a maize silage-based diet, according to a study at CEDAR, Reading.

Richard Phipps of CEDAR, who completed the study for Trident Feeds, fed 3kg of maize distillers in a total mixed ration to replace half the soya, all the rape meal, and the Megalac of the control diet. Megalac was included to provide similar oil content in both diets.

The forage in both rations was 66% maize and 33% grass silage, and included 3-4kg of wheat. Rations were balanced to supply enough fermentable energy to sustain microbial protein synthesis in the rumen, said Dr Phipps. The distillers ration would cost £2.20 a cow a day and the control £2.53, added Trident.

Mid-lactation cows maintained yields on the maize distillers diet, averaging 29 litres, control cows averaged 28 litres. Milk protein was unaffected by maize distillers at 3.19%, but fat fell from 5.32 to 4.93%.