29 December 1995

MDCbacks baled kale trials

DAIRY cow feeding experiments with big bale kale silage are to begin in the New Year at North Wyke Research Station in Devon, part of the Institute for Grassland and Environment Research.

This project is one of the first to be financed by the recently-formed Milk Development Council using levy money collected from milk producers.

Nigel Young, North Wykes resources manager, hopes to have the experiment under way in late January, using 20 January-calving cows.

Ten cows will be fed a standard ration of concentrates and grass silage. The other 10 will get the same concentrates but the silage offered will be half grass, half big bale kale.

The cows will be individually fed, making it possible to record details of daily feed intake for each cow, as well as weekly milk yield and quality (and taint if present), body condition, and liveweight.

Mr Young expects the experiment will last for three months, and says it will be done in careful detail. For example before feeding, any weeds will be removed from the kale silage, and the daily "leavings" of silages will be separated into kale and grass to obtain accurate information on daily intake of the kale and grass silages.

He is particularly interested to see whether including kale silage in the diet depresses fat and raises protein in the milk – as some predict it will. &#42