Final five go through their
With five excellent finalists
in the MGA Milk and Meat
from Maize Silage
competition, picking a winner
Marianne Curtis joined the
judges for the final round
SELF-FEEDING, block calving and a forward thinking attitude to straights buying make for a simple, profitable system at Andrew Stevenss Leaze Hill Farm near Lechlade, Glos.
Judges were impressed by the simplicity of Mr Stevenss feeding system which incorporates layers of brewers grains, rape and wheat in maize and grass silage clamps. His 280-cow autumn calving herd self-feed these from clamps.
In previous years, 2kg/head of concentrate was parlour fed, but this has been increased to 5kg/head of a 35% concentrate because, unlike previous years, milk quota is not limiting.
Many producers would be envious of the straights costs Mr Stevens achieved this year. "I bought brewers grains last May at £14/t and rape meal last February at £77.50/t."
Maize silage accounts for two thirds of total forage on a freshweight basis and costs £30/t DM to grow and harvest. Different varieties are grown according to soil type.
"On Thames gravel where there is only 1ft of topsoil, I am looking for drought tolerant and late maturing varieties for maximum yield. But on heavier river meadow land, I go for an earlier maturing variety."
Although waste was low in Mr Stevenss maize clamp with little aerobic spoilage, judges believed some improvements could be made. "There was waste on both shoulders of the clamp which could have been improved by better rolling at the edges," said MGA judge John Morgan.
Total annual feed costs, including forage are about 4p/litre. Rolling average yield is 7200 litres and there are plans to expand the herd to 320 cows, said Mr Stevens.
Incorporating straights into maize silage clamps makes for a simple self-feeding system at Andrew Stevenss Leaze Hill Farm in Glos.