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REDUCING WASTE DRIVES FORAGE EFFICIENCY

Forage efficiency and minimising waste are key business objectives for the Daniel family from Lower Rillaton Farm, near Callington. Ensuring effective fermentation and good stability are the foundations of their silage making so this year they will be using Magniva inoculants on all their crops.

Jack Daniel runs the 350 acre farm with his father Chris and his sons Matthew and Alex. The farm is home to 160 all year round calving cows averaging 8000 litres at 4.68% fat and 3.69% protein. The cows are housed at night all year and graze by day in the summer.

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In addition to 230 acres of a mix of permanent pasture and grass reseeds, there are 30 acres of maize, 30 acres of wheat and 60 acres of barley.

Around 120 acres of first cut were taken in mid-May as they like a bit more fibre in first cut. Second cut of 100 acres was taken in late June with third and fourth cuts being baled. First cut analysed at 27%DM and 11.8MJ ME/kgDM while second cut came in at 32% DM and 11.1MJ ME/kgDM.

“Our focus is on making the best quality silages we can as the basis for the ration,” Jack explains. “We also want to ensure that we feed as much as possible of the crop that goes into the clamp. Waste is just a drain on the business, pushing up costs.

“We feed grass silage all year round, so need a rapid fermentation allowing us to open clamps quickly. We also need a stable product as it takes us a week to get across the face in the summer and the clamps are outdoors and exposed to the elements.”

For the last three years they have used Lallemand Animal Nutrition inoculants – Biotal SuperSile on first cut and Biotal Axcool of the drier second cut. This year they will move to Lallemand’s new Magniva Platinum range of inoculants for grass.

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Maize is also a central part of the system, usually drilled in mid-April under plastic. In 2019 it was harvested in early October and treated with the new Magniva Platinum Maize inoculant.

“With maize, stability is really important for us,” Jack continues. “It takes us 4-5 days to work across the face and we don’t want to see the silage heating as this is just wasting energy and increasing our costs.

Matt Dymond from Harpers explains that the Magniva Platinum range contains a unique combination of bacteria, L buchneri and L hilgardii. “These specific bacteria quickly produce a number of antifungal compounds that significantly reduce the yeasts and moulds that cause heating, improving immediate aerobic stability, meaning clamps can be opened safely much sooner. They also improve longer term aerobic stability, protecting the silage while the clamp is open.

“By significantly reducing the populations of both yeasts and moulds, the antifungal compounds produced by the Magniva inoculants reduce the main cause of the clamp heating and losing energy. It is important to remember that when a clamp heats up the energy is being burnt off, reducing feed value and making the forage less palatable.

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The diets are developed by Matt to make full use of the high quality forages. “This winter the cows are currently on 25kg grass silage, 10kg maize silage, 2.5kg treated wheat, 2kg of a soya:rape blend, straw, minerals and 5kg of bought-in fodder beet.This TMR gives M+16 litres. A barley:protein mix is then fed to yield through the parlour. Maximising the forage available to feed means we can really drive production from home grown feeds and margins.”