Strawlage proves a real cost cutter

UK - With home-produced straw costing about £3.50 per heston bale and silage £10.50, Martin Lowcock reckons he has made considerable savings since changing his suckler herd feeding system in recent years.
calendar icon 4 October 2006
clock icon 1 minute read
He now feeds "strawlage" from August to January, only offering silage from pre-calving to turnout. The straw from grain harvested for crimping is baled and wrapped without additive at 30% moisture directly behind the combine.

"This preserves an element of green stem and flag leaf and enhances protein content," says Mr Lowcock.

"The extra expense of £2.10 a bale for wrapping is a worthwhile investment, not least because it means the straw can be stored outside, leaving buildings free.

"Otherwise I would have to dry the straw before baling it," he says. "This system produces almost no waste. Even when air gets inside the plastic there is little spoilage and cattle still find it palatable."

In total, Mr Lowcock finishes about 350 cattle a year at Maltby Grange Farm, Middlesbrough. The Simmental-sired heifers are killed at about 11 months weighing 270-290kg and sold through the farm shop.

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