Producing 2.5m litres annually, the Pilkington’s Aintree herd is housed year-round and fed a TMR ration based on maize silage, wholecrop winter oats from an ag-bag, maize, rapemeal and NIS. In the winter, the ration has grass silage added, and in the summer, zero-grazed grass mixed in.
Richard says NIS has been fed sporadically to the milking cows over the past six years as an alternative since sugarbeet pulp increased in cost, but last summer, the plummeting milk price prompted a rethink for him and his nutritionist Dr Huw McConochie of Wynnstay.
Huw suggested switching from sugarbeet pulp to NIS permanently. I was concerned that NIS wouldn’t contain enough effective fibre – but I was proved wrong as after including it a 1.5kg/head/day – a direct swap for sugarbeet pulp – butterfat increased immediately. The cows have always run around 3.9% butterfat but since introducing the NIS we’ve consistently been over 4.1% while averaging more than 34 litres/cow/day.
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