Maize silage frequently asked questions
What hybrid should I grow?
Pioneer has the most extensive range of proven maize silage seeds in all regions and growing environments. To determine the best hybrid for your growing environment,
When is the best time of year to feed-out maize silage?
No two dairy farm systems are the same. You need to identify what you want to achieve. Many New Zealand farmers use maize silage to:
- increase and maintain cow condition
- extend lactation
- overcome feed shortages
- maximise pasture utilisation
To help you feed-out at the right time to achieve your goals, we strongly recommend you undertake a free, no obligation Farm System Analysis where one of our experienced Forage Specialists will come out to your farm and undertake an analysis of your operation and then, taking into account your farming goals, recommend the opportunities for your farm.
If I start feeding maize silage does it mean I'm going to have to buy a new tractor and build a feed pad just to be able to feed-out?
It's not vital to spend any extra money on gear. You can keep your system very simple by using your existing tractor and feed-out wagon to feed maize silage in the paddock during the autumn when ground conditions are dry.
Isn't there a lot of waste feeding maize silage?
There is very little wastage with maize silage fed in bins on a feed pad. Farmers who feed maize silage in the paddock in autumn, when ground conditions are dry, also report very little wastage.
Isn't maize silage very expensive compared to others supplements?
Many New Zealand farmers can grow crops of maize silage that yield 18 - 26 tDM/ha for 14 - 20 c/kgDM (in the stack). No other New Zealand crop can deliver the same amount of harvestable high quality feed at such a low cost. The cost per unit of energy of even bought-in maize silage is lower than many other commonly available forages and concentrates.
To help determine the potencial cost and sourcing options of your maize silage, use the following interactive calculator:
I've heard maize silage is a lot of extra work. Is this true?
No - many farmers feeding maize silage have found it takes little extra time to feed. In fact some farmers with feed pads report a decrease in their workload, as the cows come up the race on their own.
My neighbour uses maize silage but seems to only do the same production as me and I don't use maize! So why should I bother?
This shows how good a grass farmer you are. Good grass managers have the greatest opportunity to make the most money out of feeding maize silage.
I'm happy with the amount of money I'm making, so why would I need maize silage?
It depends on what your goals are. In the future you may want to intensify to enable your farm to support two families. Other farmers intensify so they can employ labour and spend more time enjoying off farm business or leisure activities.
I'm afraid I might make the wrong decisions with maize silage. Is there help available?
Don't worry. There is help available to you. If you are unsure of what to do or how to get started, call Pioneer on 0800 PIONEER (746 633) and we will be happy to assist.