Are you wondering how to maximise your cattle’s energy consumption without increasing concentrate costs?
The answer is simple… maize!
Maize is ideal for a high energy, high fibre diet. Establishing an efficient and productive diet for your livestock can often feel overwhelming, but maize offers a simple and effective solution.
How to Grow Maize
The growth of your maize will vary depending on your land’s climate and soil.
Maize is a warm-season, annual plant. It is best to plant maize in soil with temperatures above 15℃; this is usually two to three weeks after the last frost in spring. However, sweeter varieties may require an even higher soil temperature of around 18℃.
Depending on the variety of maize, cutting dates can vary. The window for harvesting is short as the maize quickly begins to lose quality. This makes it imperative for the maize to be harvested between 32-35% dry matter content (DM). Waiting any longer than this will impact the palatability of the crop as well as the intakes.
A dry maize plant, usually harvested at around 40% DM, is of a stalky matter which means the rumen is unable to digest due to the high lignin content.
Maize cobs are best harvested early in the morning while the grains are doughy. A quick test can be done to assess if the corn is ready:
Using your thumb to squeeze the grain, check the consistency of the matter inside; this way you can see whether the crop is ready or not. Along with the cob, the stem must be checked for DM value.
By removing the plant at the bottom of the stem and cutting it in half, you can push your thumb into the stem and assess how much liquid is released by the plant.
It is worth noting that modern maize varieties have been bred to help minimise common issues around growing and harvesting.
Grass Science Seeds Maize Mixes
Grass Science Seeds provide a mixture of two ultra-early varieties which enables early harvest. They are especially useful for wetter grounds where harvesting needs to take place before the autumn rain arrives.
Choosing varieties with the highest energy and starch levels is imperative for the most efficient diet.
To find out more about maize, corn and the products we offer, contact our team who will be happy to help!