This trial investigated the marginal benefit, and or cost of 1) increasing stocking rate and utilising PKE within the limitations of Fonterra’s FEI or 2) increasing stocking rate and offering a PKE blend or maize grain / barley compared to a pasture-only system.
In June 2017, 227 Friesian cows were split into three 24 ha farmlets. Annual pasture growth over the past 9 seasons = 15.4 t DM/ha and cow liveweight = 510 kg/cow. Stocking rate based on 90 kg LWT/t feed available/ha
- All grass – stocked at 2.9 cows/ha (69 Friesian cows)
- PKE farmlet – stocked at 3.29 cows/ha (79 Friesian cows) feeding 500 kg/cow PKE
- Grain farmlet – stocked at 3.29 cows/ha (79 F cows) feeding 500 kg/cow either barley or maize grain
In 2018-2019 season the maize grain / barley was replaced by an in-shed blend consisting of 33 – 50 % PKE, 25 – 33% DDG, 12 – 15% Tapioca, 15% high starch pellet, & up to 15% soya hull pellet. The blend was formulated to be higher in starch during late winter and spring, and higher in protein during summer and autumn.
Trigger for feeding supplements to be when cows are underfed from pasture only from weekly farm walks and pre and post grazing measurements + targeted cow intakes. Residuals to be no lower than 1500 kg DM/ha through lactation on the supplemented farmlets. Majority of feeding to be in late winter / early spring ( calving to October) and late summer / autumn (Feb – May). PKE was fed throughout lactation at a rate of 1-5 kg/cow/day (716 kg DM/cow) & kibble maize or barley was fed if required to achieve pasture targets in early and late lactation (633 kg DM/cow). Drying off decisions to be made on feed budgets and cows condition measurements.