The predominant feed for our dairy cows and heifers
This is grown in the summer months and stored so that it can be used all year round. The cows will each eat around 40kg per day, which means we need to grow around 25,000 tonnes of forage per year on the farm to feed our livestock. Both grass and maize silage are grown to a high specification to produce as much energy, protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals as we can from our own land.
The grasses we grow are a combination of seeds in the arable rotation alongside long-term native grasses on our fields and flood meadows. Three cuts of grass are taken during the summer and this is stored in what are called silage clamps to provide cattle feed over the following 12 months. The grass is spread after mowing and allowed to wilt for 24 hours before being harvested with a large self-propelled forager.
Maize silage is grown annually in the arable rotation and provides high-energy forage for our cows. It is sown in April after a dressing of organic manures and harvested in September where, like the grass, it is stored in airtight clamps to preserve it to feed over winter.
Forage is fed to the cows in a balanced mixed ration alongside home-grown grains and bought in vegetable proteins such as soya bean and rapeseed meal.