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How much grass silage will wholecrop silage replace?

How much grass silage will wholecrop silage replace?

By Diarmuid O’Riordan IASIS, TMR Area Sales Manager, Dairygold Agri Business

 

The yield of wholecrop can vary from 8-16T depending the grain yield.

 Winter WheatSpring BarleySpring Barley
Grain Yield potential @ 20% MC432
Expected total yield T fresh (grain + straw)14.5118.5

 

Assuming your wholecrop silage yields 10T per acre and is 35% DM then every acre has the potential to feed 3 cows over a 3 month winter.

The number of cows fed across the winter by differing areas of 10T per acre crop of wholecrop (assume maize is the only forage available)::

Area3 Months4 Months5 Months
10acres322419
15acres493629
20acres654939
25acres816149
30acres977358
40acres1309778
50acres16212297

 

How does wholecrop silage compare to grass silage?

The feeding value of whole crop cereal silage can vary from inferior to grass silage to being superior, with the difference in nutritive value being predominantly determined by the content of the developed grain. Winter wheat and spring barley, both at 50% grain in the harvested DM, can have similar and excellent nutritive value.

 

Wholecrop vs Grass silage

 Winter WheatSpring BarleySpring Barley
Grain Yield potential @ 20% MC432
Feed value, equivalent DMD74%+74%+65%
Feed value, equivalent UFL0.830.830.72

 

To get the best from your wholecrop 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 wholecrop is lower in protein you will need to use higher protein balancer feeds.

 

Concentrates required by freshly calved cow’s milk 25ltrs on Wholecrop 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% Wholecrop (4Tcrop)8kg Balancer gold 22.5%
50% Grass Silage (70 DMD) + 50% Wholecrop (2Tcrop)8.5kg Balancer gold 22.5%

Allows for 0.3 BCS loss in early lactation

Can I feed wholecrop to my dry cows?

Poorer grain yielding crops could be used in dry cow diets but your cows will need a protein source to fill the protein deficit.

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

Grass Silage only50% Grass silage + 50% Wholecrop
Grass Silage onlyKg (Fresh)50% Grass silage + 50% WholecropKg (Fresh)50% Grass silage + 50% WholecropKg (Fresh)
Grass silage (70 DMD)40Grass silage (70 DMD)15Grass silage (70 DMD)12
 Wholecrop (2T crop)15Wholecrop (4T crop)12
Soya0.5Soya0.75
 Straw2