Silage the way goats like it
Matamata dairy goat farmers may benefit from attending a silage workshop held by AgResearch and the Dairy Goat Co- operative where they can learn more about best practices for silage and forage supply for goats.
AgResearch’s Dr Warren King said dairy goat farming is significantly different to dairy cow farming, particularly when it comes to feeding and total forage supply.
‘‘ Most dairy goats are housed indoors and farmers provide fresh pasture in a ‘cut and carry’ system.
‘‘Fresh-cut pasture in a dairy goat system is what makes New Zealand unique in the world,’’ he said
‘‘ Typically one- third to one- half of total forage supply for dairy goats is fresh-cut pasture.’’
But fresh-cut grass is not available all year round. Most dairy goat farmers are quite reliant on grass silage as a significant component of their total forage supply system, much more so than dairy cow farmers.
In fact, some dairy goat farmers rely entirely on grass silage.
Grass silage offers sistency throughout conthe season, and is used alongside supplements such as maize silage and brewer’s grain.
While some farmers make their own grass silage, others get contractors to make silage for them, and yet others buy silage in when they need it.
‘‘Silage is a way of dealing with the massive flush of spring pasture growth in September and October, and to make sure there are good feed resources on hand year- round, especially in February and March when grass dries off.
‘‘There is an extra cost to producing silage but it’s cheaper to make your own than buy it in later on,’’ King said.
To attend the silage workshop on September 9 at Hamilton’s Ruakura Research Centre, email King on warren. king@ agresearch.co.nz or phone 07 838 5159.
SCIENTIST SPEAKING: AgResearch’s Dr Warren King will be speaking at a conference on silage for dairy goats.