High yields are what they want
CONTRACT grown maize and bought in standing crops make up 17ha (43 acres) of the 40ha (100 acres) harvested for Somerset producer Peter Winstone.
"A high stocking rate has stopped us growing more maize and we need some late grazing," he said. "We prefer to buy maize in April and cost it against brewers grains when we can assess the yield in the field."
He buys the crop on yield at a 30% dry matter equivalent and has paid £520-865/ha (£210-350/acre) for a standing crop – he also has to pay harvesting costs.
"Maize silage is more consistent, so the grass silage must be grown at home – grass silage from rented keep doesnt perform well."
Despite a high dependance on leased quota, its high yields that motivate Mr Winstone and his herdsman, he claims. But high output cannot be at the expense of yield from forage. The 8000-litre, 200-cow herd yields 3626 litres from forage.
"Feeding twice-a-day increases intakes and we can get more sodagrain in the mix when feeding is split," he said. Feed rates are kept low in relation to yield by offering a mixed diet. The forage in the ration is 55% maize silage and 45% grass silage.
High yields from forage are achieved by Peter Winstone despite the farms high stocking rate.