Maize for Silage
MAIZE SILAGE FOR DEERBack to Technical Insights
Maize silage is an excellent feed option for all types of deer. It may be included in weaner growing rations, fed to lactating hinds or used to maintain breeding animals.
WHY MAIZE SILAGE FOR DEER?
- High yields
The maize plant is an efficient converter of sunlight, nutrients and water into plant material. It has the ability to produce high drymatter yields and performs well under dry conditions.
- Low cost per unit of drymatter
The high production capability of maize means that most farmers can grow crops that yield 18 - 26 tDM/ha for 15 - 21 c/kgDM. This includes the cost of using contractors for all crop work.
- Feed when required
Provided that it has been compacted well and sealed, a stack of maize silage will keep for several seasons if necessary. Maize silage therefore gives increased flexibility when compared to other summer crop options.
- High energy content
In good quality maize silage, more than half of the total drymatter yield is in the form of high energy maize grain. This contributes to the high level of energy in maize silage compared to more traditional conserved feeds (Table 1).
- Good fibre levels
Maize silage contains excellent levels of fibre that is particularly necessary for deer especially Wapiti.Table 1: Hay and silage feed values
Deer will not eat silage that is of poor quality. It is very easy to get maize silage well fermented if a quality silage inoculant (such as Pioneer® brand 1132 or 11C33 maize silage specific inoculant) is used and good stack management practices are followed.
Maize can be stored in a bunker or in an above-the-ground stack. For either storage system, ensure that the face area (height x width) is as small as possible. This will ensure that you are feeding adequate amounts of the face each day to prevent silage deterioration at feed-out time. Remember however that the narrowest stack that you can compact is twice the width of your tractor. The use of an aerobic stability inoculant (e.g. Pioneer® brand 11C33 maize silage specific inoculant) will reduce silage heating at feed-out time.
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Revised: June 2015
Expires: June 2018