Silage Gourmet Style

Gourmet Maize Silage

You are what you eat – even and especially if you are a dairy cow. A Dairy milking herd deserves the best gourmet maize silage that is available and when that maize silage is award winning then the benefits, in terms of milk yield from homegrown feeds, will be significant.

Nigel Roobottom, winner of the Staffordshire & Birmingham Agricultural Society’s Award for best 2011 forage maize, has 220 Holstein Friesian cows plus 100 followers. The farm where he keeps the dairy herd is sown with 45 acres of Konsort maize, 45 acres of cereals for wholecrop and crimped wheat, and 10 acres of Lucerne, plus 260 acres of grass.

Feeding Regime

The cows graze from mid-March to the end of October, rotating between paddocks to maximise grass growth and utilisation. However, he also buffer feeds them with a total mixed ration throughout the year to supplement the grass and avoid dramatic changes in diet.

Maize Treatment

‘I like to wait until the grain is fully formed before I harvest it’ he says ‘and that is usually in early November, which is later than many other farms’ says Nigel.

He also does not chop the maize too short which maintains a good texture throughout.

A new food-grade silage preservative has been developed which when mixed with silage eradicates undesirable bacteria, yeasts and moulds. Applied at 1.5 litres per tonne of silage, it facilitates more rapid and hygienic fermentation, preventing dry matter and energy losses which allows the silage to remain cooler and fresher for much longer periods.

Preferring to roll his own silage to ensure the clamp shoulders are tight he is rightly proud that there is minimal silage wastage.

With the cows being fed maize during the summer, it is essential to keep it in perfect condition no matter how hot the weather.

Feed rations are formulated according to the cows’ milking yields, with the year round calving herd split into high yielding, mid and low yielding groups. Also bought in is a protein blend and soya hulls or sugar beet pulp, depending on price, alongside the homegrown forage.

The cows are milked twice a day and there is a lot of hard work involved in keeping the herds health at a maximum. If that is got right then everything else seems to fall into place.


Obviously it must be working because over the last few years yields have improved by 700 litres and are now averaging 8,500 litres.

Gourmet Maize silage has played a significant part in this increase.

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