Forage Maize - Silage Quality
Maize is a proven forage across many UK herds, either to complement grass, wholecrop silage or fed exclusively. Managing the crop for best feed efficiency is key to achieving the high intake potential it offers.
Key advantages of maize
- Slowly degradable starch (30-35%)
- High energy concentration (11.0-11.5 ME)
- Beneficial effect on rumen stability (pH 6.2-6.5)
Harvest at the correct time
Aim to start harvest as the crop becomes mature. The best intakes from maize silage are between 30-35% dry matter.
A silage analysis is advisable to estimate the quality and range of nutrients for diet formulation and inclusion rates. It also indicates if the silage is either too wet or too dry, allowing the ration to be adjusted accordingly.
When to feed
If offered early in the lactation, maize will support an increased level of production. Introduce gradually, allowing time for cows to adjust to higher feeding rates for maximum performance.