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Corporate farm uses high quality inoculated silage to boost production

Peter Watson, Corrlands Waikeria Farm Instructor.

Corporate farm uses high quality inoculated silage to boost production

2005/06 Season

Owners: Department of Corrections
Farm location: Te Awamutu
Farm size: 1,060 hectares
Herd size: 3,200 cows

High quality silages play a critical part in the success of Corrlands Waikeria dairy farm operation. Situated around Waikeria Prison, south of Te Awamutu, the farm provides inmate training in a full range of dairy management skills. Over recent years, Corrlands Waikeria was named a finalist in the Farm Manager section of the Fonterra Westpac Dairy Excellence Awards and it also won three major Waikato Ballance Farm Environmental Awards.

The 1,060 hectare farming operation comprises of an 840 hectare milking platform and 220 hectares of cropping support land. A total of 3,200 Friesian/Jersey cross cows including 500 autumn calvers are milked in three herds. They produced a colossal 1.28 million kgMS in the 2005-06 season.

Each year the farm grows and feeds around 1,350 kg DM/cow of Pioneer® brand maize silage. "We feed maize silage every day, 365 days a year at 1-5 kgDM/cow/day depending on the pasture growth rates. Maize silage allows us to feed our cows properly and at the same time support a high stocking rate" says Peter Watson, Farm Instructor, who is in charge of the cropping programme.

After the maize silage is harvested the cropping area is planted in annual ryegrass which is used to winter cows for about eight weeks and then closed up and harvested for silage four-six weeks later. The farm makes a total of around 1,700 tonnes (530 kgDM/cow) of baled and precision chopped pasture silage.

All the silage is stored in four bunkers each of which is 30m wide by 70m long. It is removed from the stacks using a loader with a bucket and fed out in feed bins situated near each of the three milking sheds using two side delivery feed wagons and a mixer wagon.

All silage made on the farm is inoculated, the maize silage with Pioneer® brand 1132 and the pasture silage with Pioneer® brand 1127.

"We use inoculant to get the drymatter recovery benefits and faster, more efficient fermentation" says Peter. "Often in the autumn we are short of feed and need to feed the maize silage as soon as we can after harvest. The 1132 speeds up the fermentation and we can get into it more quickly."