Buying in maize silage additional benefits
Buying in maize for silage requires minimal dairy farmer input. Once the crop is contracted the farmer can sit back and wait until harvest.
Typically maize silage crops are sold on a c/kgDM basis in the spring. The purchaser pays for the harvesting and all subsequent costs.The stacked price can still vary slightly due to fluctutaions in harvesting, cartage and stacking costs.
Buying in maize silage results in a significant transfer of nutrients onto the milking platform. Each 100 tDM of maize silage contains around 1,300 kg of nitrogen, 220 kg phosphorus, 960 kg potassium and 150 kg sulphur5. Where these nutrients end up depends on what percentage of the nutrients is converted into milk or body weight gain, where the maize silage is fed-out (paddock or feed pad) and the effluent system (pond or irrigator).
In farm systems that feed high amounts of maize silage (>1,000 kgDM/cow), the amount of maize silage that is grown on-farm is limited because pasture must still make up at least 65% of the milking cows diet. On these intensive farms, pasture protein harvest on the milking platform is maximised and bought in maize silage provides additional carbohydrates and energy.
5Pioneer® brand Products 2002. The profitable integration of Pioneer® brand maize silage and lucerne into NZ dairy farm systems.