26 September 1997

Maximising maize could save £1000s

MAXIMISING the potential of maize could save you £1000s this winter.

So said John Morgan, Maize Growers Associations director of operations.

Best maize feeders achieve 15 litres a cow a day from forage in winter, but the average is only 6-7 litres. This winter, with silage pits full, anyone feeding maize should challenge cows to milk from forage, he said.

"You could make £1000s by getting it right." An extra litre a day from forage from 100 cows over a 180-day winter would increase yield from forage by 18,000 litres. At a saving of 0.45kg of concentrate for each litre produced from forage, 8.1t of concentrate would be saved – worth about £1000.

"When rations are balanced and based on actual silage quality, and cow intakes are good, believe in the forages potential," said Mr Morgan. Then keep monitoring daily intakes to ensure cows are adequately nourished.

Focus on management factors first, providing adequate feed space to ensure true ad lib feeding and not shutting cows away from feed for long periods for milking, he said. Forage should be fed at least once a day, and stale feed removed.

Mixed forages and mixed diets will help increase cow intakes and good cow comfort encourages cow to ruminate more, he added. A bigger cow would also eat more, as would an older one.

MGAs John Morgan…maximising forage maize could save £1000s.