Back Get more milk from your feed

Date: 21 August 2015

A Farm Systems Analysis of more than 430 Waikato dairy farms feeding supplements across five seasons has shown that the average milksolids response was 85 gMS/kgDM fed1.

Higher milksolids responses of up to 140 gMS/kgDM fed are possible in periods of feed shortage (e.g. autumn) when the use of supplements allows farmers to keep cows milking through a feed deficit. You can maximise your milksolids response to maize silage by minimising storage and feed-out wastage and feeding it strategically to increase days in milk or to meet cow condition score targets.

There are three main things which will determine how much you can afford to pay for a supplement: the milksolids price, the milk response rate (i.e. how much milk you can generate from feeding the supplement) and the additional costs associated with feeding the supplement (wastage, labour, vehicle running etc.).

Table 1: Break-even supplementary feed cost for a range of milk prices and milksolids response rates (c/kgDM fed, includes all costs associated with feeding supplements*).

*IMPORTANT: The break-even feed cost must include ALL feed costs including supplement price, delivery, costs associated with wastage, feed-out costs (including vehicle and labour costs) and any additional milking costs associated with supplement feeding. Please remember: This table does not show the price you can afford to pay for supplementary feed, it shows the breakeven price.


If you are planning to use maize silage, your local Pioneer representative can help provide information on maximising milksolids response and minimising wastage so you get the most possible milk return.


1NZ data collected by Pioneer Forage Specialists from more than 430 Waikato dairy farms from 2008/09 to 2012/13. Milksolids response rate (MRR) is calculated by dividing the total milk produced by the total amount of feed (pasture + supplements) offered. The measured MRR was 65gMS/kgDM offered. If we assume a feed utilisation rate of 80%, the MRR rises to 85gMS/kgDM fed.