27 October 1995

Maize silage quality good

MOST livestock producers can look forward to feeding better quality maize silage this winter than last.

That is evident from analysis results of this seasons crop.

So far dry matters have averaged 34%, starch between 25.4% and 30%, energy 11.5 ME, and degradable carbohydrates 34.8%.

However, ruminant product manager for Oldacres Feeds, Chris Bartram, said that despite quality improvements there were worries over quantity.

Yields are below expectations in many areas, with some 20% down.

"In view of this years grass silage shortage, maize inclusion in some forage regimes may be up to 80% or 90%, compared with a normal rate of about 60%," says Dr Bartram.

"Rationing must be based on a detailed analysis of this years crop, including a starch determination if the value of maize is to be realised fully."

Bruce Cottrill of ADAS says: "There has been much variation in cob size reflecting the very dry summer but where there are high starch levels a lot will by-pass the rumen and be absorbed, pushing milk proteins up." But he cautioned that the overall diet must be right to secure protein lift.