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
Finalists farm details
(litres a cow)8,480*6,4207,7947,0008,020
Maize fed (%)5070754555
Milk from forage-(3,800)**(1,200)**(2,700)**3,626
(*Milk recording average. ** Judges estimate).
Can you guess the winner? All will be revealed at the MGAs agm next week on Thurs, 27 Feb at Harper Adams College.