Silage the way goats like it

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

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.

Photo: SUP­PLIED

SCI­EN­TIST SPEAK­ING: AgRe­search’s Dr War­ren King will be speak­ing at a con­fer­ence on silage for dairy goats.

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