21 February 1997

Sorting out

the final five?

Five regional finalists competed for the title of champion maize silage maker and user in this years Maize Growers Association competition sponsored by Midland Bank and FW. Jessica Buss reports

USING two tractors to roll the clamp as the contractor fills it and ensuring the shoulders are well salted virtually eliminated spoilage for the western maize finalist.

Edward Fair presented the judges with an excellent clamp of maize made from 38ha (93 acres) of LG2080, and 1.6ha (4 acres) each of Hudson, Facet and Lincoln. This year the crop on the 200ha (500-acre) Peatswood Farm, Market Drayton yielded 29.6t/ha (12t/acre) fresh weight.

"This was a slightly low yield but it is very high quality," said Mr Fair. "We normally aim for 4.5t of dry matter an acre."

His contractor harvests the crop and fills the clamp, but Mr Fair uses one or two extra tractors for rolling it. Additive use is considered uneconomic but salt is worked down deep into the shoulders of the clamp.

"Salt is incorporated into the maize with a fork. Then the clamp is rolled down again with the tractor," said Mr Fair. "When the silage is dry it needs the salt to prevent spoilage."

The judges found the top and shoulders of the clamp cold and free from discoloration. Mr Fair was also awarded top marks for his analysis (see table ).

The silage was fed as 45% of the forage in the milkers diet to the herd which averages 7000 litres at 4.4% fat and 3.4% protein.

For feeding fresh calvers in August a separate narrow clamp of maize is made.


Silage analyses for the five finalists

DM%D-valueMEFMEStarchCP%pHAmm N

MJ/kg%

Gemmell246710.58.517.99.23.53.5

Hextall347211.39.736.38.53.83.7

Dart367111.19.034.79.43.72.0

Winstone327111.28.931.010.84.01.8

Fair317311.59.232.510.33.94.0


Finalists farm details

GemmellHextallDartFairWinstone

LocationDumfriesSussexOxonStaffsSomerset

Altitude (ft)50350-500180330150

Maize (ha)1449614240

VarietiesHudsonFeroRiverLG2080Diamant

ApacheMelodyImpact

Drilling8/525/41/516/426/4

Harvest9/1022/1012/1012/1010/10-1/11

AdditiveYesNoneNoneNoneNone

Clamp toppingSaltNoneSaltSaltSalt

Silage useDairyDairyDairyDairyDairy

Herd size175220280320200

Milk yield

(litres a cow)8,480*6,4207,7947,0008,020

Maize fed (%)5070754555

Concentrate use

(kg/litre)-0.180.39(0.28)**0.26

Milk from forage-(3,800)**(1,200)**(2,700)**3,626

(*Milk recording average. ** Judges estimate).


WINNER REVEALED

Can you guess the winner? All will be revealed at the MGAs agm next week on Thurs, 27 Feb at Harper Adams College.