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Stackyard News Mar 08

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    Silage Additive Offers Over 6:1 Investment Return

Dairy producers will be able to make higher quality forage and subsequently improve yields by up to 4.4% by applying a carefully chosen additive to their grass silage this coming season, according to findings from a trial carried out at Wye College. This yield improvement works out at an additional margin of more than £56 or an investment return of 6.6:1


silage collection

Two grass silages were taken from a third year grass ley – a mix of tetraploid and diploid ryegrasses plus clover. After cutting on 11 May and picking up two days later with a self propelled precision chop forage harvester, half the forage was treated with Volac Agros silage additive at a rate of 2 litres/tonne. The remainder acted as a control.

The silages were clamped outdoors and fed to the herd on an ad lib basis on housing. The cows were also fed supplementary concentrate. The two silages’ analyses showed little difference, apart from the treated which had a higher ME of 11.0 MJ/kg, compared with 10.7MJ/kg for the untreated.

While intakes of both silages were relatively high at an average 16.25kg DM/day, there was no significant difference in intake between the treated and untreated. However, the cows fed the treated silage yielded an average 1.3l/day more than those fed the untreated, and their combined milk fat and protein yield was 5% higher. See table 1. Furthermore, the cows fed the treated silage stayed in better condition.

Table 1: Dairy cow performance: additive treated grass silage vs untreated


Volac Agros treated silage

Untreated silage

Milk yield (l/day) 30.9 29.6
Fat yield (kg/day) 1.33 1.28
Protein yield (kg/day) 0.94 0.88
Cow liveweight (kg) 635 631
Source: Wye College (London University)

“The improved yield performance from cows fed the treated silage reflects the silage’s higher digestibility and a better utilisation of the digested nutrient,” explains Volac International’s Philip Jones.

“While feed and fertiliser costs continue to escalate, it may be tempting to cut corners and make compromises this season, however it’s a decision farmers cannot afford to make when it comes to investing in a silage additive. Applying Volac Agros has been proven to bring a return of 6.6:1 on milk yield alone, a figure which will contribute to offsetting those higher input costs.”

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