Top dairy feeding begins at home

DAIRY farmers are being driven down the road of using more and more bought-in feed while they could be growing a larger percentage of their forage needs at home, according to Maybole farmer Billy Lynch.

Lynch, who milks 800 cows at Garryhorn, claimed that on many farms, milk yield from grass was static with increases in production only coming from bought-in feeds. This showed, he said, that there was a big potential to increase forage yields.

"We can grow good grass in the West of Scotland and every extra tonne of quality grass or other forage we can grow helps cut the feed bills."

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His farm will host an open day on 1 July organised by DairyCo as part of their drive to cut industry costs through effective crop and forage management.

DairyCo extension officer, Heather Wildman, said: "We want to show how farmers can get the maximum litres of milk from their own farms. This is an event that every dairy farmer will benefit from attending."

Those who come will not only see the management behind the grass grown for silage at Garryhorn but will also see large-scale production of spring wheat grown for whole crop silage.

Lynch said: "Wheat has become very important to us. It is a fantastic crop. It provides a high dry matter ration even if harvested in the worst of weather."

Dairyco will have industry experts, Jonny Bax and Hugh McClymont, on hand to discuss alternative forage crops and how to maximise dry matter intakes from home-grown forage.