The cost of grazed grass VS average quality silage
While the cost of growing grass has increased on all farms, it still remains the cheapest feed available for cows.
That is the main message CAFRE’s Richard Gibson has conveyed to farmers in light of recent calculations from CAFRE that indicate “significant” increases in making and conserving forage.
According to the result, average quality silage (10.5 ME) made using March 2022 fertiliser prices will cost £130 per tonne DM, compared to grazed grass costs of £66 per tonne DM.
Gibson said: “While both costs include a figure for feeding out in the housed system and laneway infrastructure is included for the grazing system, they highlight that grazing is relatively cheaper.”
The table below illustrates that the difference in feed cost for a 200-cow herd is £324 per day and almost £10,000 over 30 days.
on average quality silage
Forage/grass cost – £/t DM
|Concentrate – kg/cow (£320/t)
|Milk yield – litres/cow/day
|Diet cost – £/cow/day
|Daily feed cost for 200 cow herd
Chemical N advice for farmers
“If available, do not limit chemical N use for silage this year. Paying for expensive concentrate or purchased forage to fill a shortfall this winter will be more expensive.”
That is the advice CAFRE’s (College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise) Richard Gibson has issued to farmers this year in light of “record-high” rising fertiliser costs.
In the dairying segment of CAFRE’s management bulletin for April 2022, he has reminded farmers that grazed grass is the cheapest feed for dairy cows.
On the back of this, he has advised farmers to monitor feed costs and ask themselves: Am I getting maximum use from grass or forage?
Furthermore, he has urged farmers to focus on livestock on their farm. He asked: Are there problem cows in the herd with SCC, fertility, or feet issues?