Maximising home grown cereals for maximum performance
Rising feed prices over the winter have once again focused minds on making the most of forage and simplifying how we feed dairy cows and youngstock. Adapting to change and approaching any such challenge as an opportunity to improve will make your business stronger and more resilient, especially during unchartered post-Brexit waters.
Back to basics
As we are all aware, ruminants are built to turn indigestible forage into very digestible meat and milk. This forage also happens to be the cheapest thing we can feed, so it makes sense to maximise both the quality and quantity that we include in any ration to maximise both performance and profit.
However, although it may indeed be desirable to produce 12,000 litres from 70% forage this is of course totally dependent on silage quality. Accurate and in depth silage analysis are essential to determine the unique ME8 figure of any silage which governs whether the cows are going to be able to eat 14kgDM or only 8kgDM of silage before they get choked. Only once you have maxed out how much silage you can afford to put into a ration should you then turn your sights to deciding what other feeds need to be included to balance the ration and meet the cows requirements…and it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you think.
The Maxammon Feeding System
Regardless of the impression, feeding cows does not have to involve feeding complicated blends or premixes. In contrast, rationing cows is actually based on some very simple principles and you can indeed formulate very powerful rations using a limited number of quality feeds specifically chosen to address 1 of 5 key requirements – something we refer to as the Maxammon Feeding System.
The first requirement is forage, the higher the quality the better, and as much as you can feed – why buy in expensive feed fibre when you have tonnes of forage fibre in your silage clamp? Second is Maxammon maize/wheat/barley to provide high levels of safe, high pH starch for improved rumen protection and by-pass starch. Third is molasses or sugar beet to provide the extra sugar needed to complement your silage and help the rumen bugs utilise Maxammon protein. Finally, and very importantly, is feeding soya or treated soya/rape to provide the by-pass protein that is so essential to meet the extreme protein requirements of the modern high yielding dairy cow.
One farmer who has seen the benefits of using the Maxammon Feeding System for a number of years is Gavin Baillie who farms in partnership with his brother James and Mum and Dad milking 250 pedigree Holstein near Stonehouse, South Lanarkshire
“Before we started feeding Maxammon 5 years ago, we always struggled to feed more than 4.5kg of our own cereal and instead had to rely on soya hulls and a rumen buffer to keep the rumen safe. However, since feeding Maxammon we now feed up to 8.75kg of cereal along with protected rapeseed and molasses, which has not only lifted our starch and sugars from 21% to 27.5% but also reduced the amount of soya we are feeding by over 2kgs. Dung consistency and fertility is excellent with the herd currently averaging 10,500kgs on twice a day milking and with some of the highest milk qualities we have ever had with milk butterfat up to 4.27% and milk protein up to 3.58%.
For farms who don’t grow their own cereals or who are looking to supplement their own cereals we can also supply Maxammon treated maize, wheat and barley direct to farm through our extensive UK network of Maxammon hubs. We can also supply high protein/sugar blends specifically built to complement Maxammon.