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How much grass silage will maize replace?

How much grass silage will maize replace?

By Alan Ryan B.Agr.Sc, TMR Area Sales Manager, Dairygold Agri Business

 

Maize silage yield varies year to year from lows of 18T (Tonne) per acre to highs of 25T per acre. This year maize is looking good so strong yields are expected.

Assuming maize silage yields 20T per acre and is 30% DM then every acre of maize has the potential to feed 6 cows over a 3 month winter.

The number of cows fed across the winter by differing areas of a 20T per acre crop of maize silage (assume maize is the only forage available):

Area3 Months4 Months5 Months
10acres564233
15acres836350
20acres1118367
25acres13910483
30acres167125100
40acres222167133
50acres278208167

 

How does maize silage compare to grass silage?

DM %CP%UFL
Maize Silage 33% starch25-356-80.93
Maize Silage 30% starch25-356-80.87
Maize Silage 25% starch25-356-80.83
Grass silage 75 DMD18-3510-130.85
Grass silage 70 DMD18-3510-130.79
Grass silage 65 DMD18-3510-130.72

 

To get the best from your maize silage keep if for your freshly calved cows. It works well with grass silage when being fed 50:50 or as a buffer once cows go out to grass. As maize is lower in protein you will need to use higher protein balancer feeds.

 

Concentrates required by freshly calved cow’s milk 25ltrs on Maize silage and Grass silage:

Grass silage 65 DMD8.5kg Post calver gold 18%
Grass silage 70 DMD7kg Post calver gold 18%
50% Grass Silage (70 DMD) + 50% Maize silage (30% starch)6kg Balancer gold 29%

Allows for 0.3 BCS loss in early lactation

 

Can I feed maize to my dry cows?

Yes, however you will have to feed straw to control energy intake and a high protein source like soya to ensure protein intake are adequate. This is a poor use of god quality maize compared to keeping it for your freshly calved cows.

Example diets for dry cows, dried off in a condition score of 3:

Grass Silage only50% Grass silage + 50% Maize silage
Kg FreshKg Fresh
Grass silage (70 DMD)40Grass silage (70 DMD)15
Maize Silage (30% Starch)12
Straw2
Soya1