Farmers in NZ have recently been encouraged to increase the quality of pasture silage they harvest. However, there was no New Zealand information available to ascertain the benefits of improved silage quality when it was offered as a supplement to grazing cows. Identical twin sets were divided into three groups in the winter, spring, summer and autumn during the 1998/99 season. Each group was offered a low pasture allowance and in addition, were offered 3 kg (winter) and 5 kg (spring, summer and autumn) DM/cow/day, of High, Medium and Low-quality pasture silage (nominally 10.4, 9.4 and 8.3 MJ ME/kg DM, respectively) as a supplement to pasture. In spring, summer and autumn offering a high quality silage increased milksolids yield from 1.57 to 1.78, 1.09 to 1.28 and 0.63 to 0.89 kg/cow/day, respectively (P<0.05) relative to cows offered Low-quality silage. There were no consistent live weight responses due to pasture silage quality. The spring, summer and autumn measured milksolids response can be calculated as having a net return (at $3.50/kg MS) of 6.7, 5.1 and 8.3 cents per MJME/kg DM increase.

KA, MacDonald, PK Nicholas, JM Kidd, JW Penno, and AR Napper

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 60, Hamilton, 253-255, 2000
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