Milk from forage with that something XTRA

Brian Mc Carron, left, Genus ABS, discusses with Robert Martin, the improved milk quality and production from feeding  better quality forage.
Brian Mc Carron, left, Genus ABS, discusses with Robert Martin, the improved milk quality and production from feeding better quality forage.

As silage plans get underway, farmers are now making decisions that will determine the financial performance of the dairy herd for the next twelve months. In the present economic climate it is vital to preserve and maximise the nutrients from the grass crop for next winter.

Robert Martin, who farms at Spa, Ballynahinch, made an important investment in his maize crop last year and reaped the benefits over the past winter.

Robert states: “High quality, palatable forage allows me to drive greater dry matter intake in my cows. The better quality my grass and maize silage, the less concentrates I have to use. The aim for the farm is to produce high milk solids and increase milk from forage, while maintaining good fertility and reducing our cost of production.”

Last autumn Robert was advised by his local Genus ABS representative, Brian McCarron, to treat his maize crop with Acti Maize Xtra Inoculant at harvesting. Understanding the contribution inoculants make to speed of fermentation, Robert took his advice, even though the Xtra inoculant cost a little more than the normal Acti Maize. The crop was harvested on 3rd November, with the clamp well rolled at ensiling and double sheeted.

When this maize silage was included in the high yielders diet, milk solids/ cow increased by 0.3kg per day and yield by 2.9 litres per day.

Robert commented: “As Northern Ireland does not have a large liquid milk market, a high solids content is even more important, as it makes the manufacture of milk products much more efficient.”

Brian explains: “Powerstart inoculant contains a unique strain of Lactobacillus (Aber F1), which is able to make better use of all the sugars available in grass, resulting in a more rapid fermentation. Our Xtra ingredient, available with both Powerstart and Acti Maize inoculants is a specially selected citrate, which produces diacetyl during fermentation, thus inhibiting yeast and moulds. As a result more of the essential nutrients in the silage are retained for the cows. This improves aerobic stability - vital when feeding high energy, well preserved forages, in adverse conditions.”

He added: “Everyone is aware of the extremely challenging market conditions in dairy farming at present. It is critical that farmers maximise their returns from forage to help reduce cost of production. A quality silage inoculant will always deliver faster fermentation, retaining more protein, sugar and nutrients, to benefit herd performance.”

Robert Martin agrees: “High quality forage makes a big contribution to our cows diet. Cool, stable silage retains maximum nutrients helping me to produce high component milk with less concentrate input. It is this high solids milk, coupled with hygiene quality that Lakeland Dairies, whom I supply, demands. In addition, the extra quality silage has had a significant impact on cow health and fertility.”

ABS is celebrating their 75th anniversary this year. In recognition of this milestone, Genus will have a special offer on March and April orders for Powerstart silage inoculants. For further details on Powerstart Xtra or the special offer, contact your local Genus ABS representative or Stephen Lavery on 077 6805 8450.