By Wendy Owen
A NEW source of processed maize by-product has been found by the company which once marketed Tunnelgold, a product which it was forced to discontinue six years ago.
The 44% dry matter feed Traffordgold was launched this autumn by KW Alternative Feeds. It costs £46-52/t delivered, depending on location, and has been tested since April at the University of Leeds farm by dairy herd manager Simon Wigley.
Mr Wigley has fed the product to the 90-cow, 8500-litre average herd in two different ways. Early in the season, Traffordgold was fed on its own when grazing was short. It was also used throughout the summer as part of a semi-complete diet which is topped up with in-parlour concentrates.
"This saved about 14p/cow a day because of the reduced need to feed other straights. It is difficult to say that it replaced one specific part of the diet, because I look at the ration as a whole. But I can vouch for its palatability, it has a strong, sweet smell and cows are really attracted to it."
During the summer, he included Traffordgold in the semi-complete diet which provides for maintenance plus 30kg of milk. "It allowed me to reduce parlour-fed concentrates by half, while maintaining yields. I normally feed about 4kg of concentrates/cow/ day, but reduced it to 2kg."
Mr Wigley is now planning to use Traffordgold in the winter ration, at a rate of 5kg/cow, which he estimates will cost 23p.
KW product manager Chris Hoare explains the product is balanced in energy and protein and can be fed to any ruminant animal. It can reduce the need for pelleted concentrates or be added to a complete diet.
He feels the greatest savings would be achieved by producers who buy in all concentrates. The diet fed to Mr Wigleys cows includes a number of home-grown materials such as barley, beans and sugar beet.
"There has been no real need to trial the product, as we carried out extensive research work on Tunnelgold and the new feed has almost exactly the same properties," says Mr Hoare.
"We stopped selling Tunnelgold when our supplier – a glucose syrup factory in Greenwich – switched from using maize to wheat six years ago.
"This new source in Manchester – a factory called Cerestar – has maize available for about 50 weeks a year. We have put up a purpose-built handling facility there, so product can be taken directly to farm."
Mr Hoare explains that the maize by-product is produced by heating whole maize in silos at about 60íC until it becomes soft. It is then wet-milled to produce glucose syrup.
The factory discards the outer shell of maize, together with what is known as corn-steep liquor, or condensed maize protein. The two materials are then mixed together with other fats and oils from the process to form Traffordgold.
Provided it is compacted and sheeted carefully, any concrete pad can be used for storage, as it stands up well without needing rigid sides to contain it, he adds. *
Adding Traffordgold to rations at the University of Leeds farm has reduced daily feed costs by 14p a cow.
Traffordgold DM analysis
ME (MJ/kg/DM) 13
Summer ration for maintenance plus 30kg
• 12kgs maize silage
• 12kgs first cut grass silage
• 8kgs Traffordgold
• 5kgs whole sugar beet
• 1kg beans
• 0.25kg groundnut pellets
• 0.25kg maize gluten
• 1kg barley
• Daily total cost £1.06p/cow