John Roe, Barrow on Humber - Lincolnshire
John Roe runs a pedigree dairy herd of 160 Friesians and finishes 250 beef cattle a year within a stone’s throw of the south bank of the River Humber. Although not an area renowned for grass, John has developed a system that relies on high yields of top quality grass silage grown from the Monarch Maxiyield mixture.
“We can get five cuts of silage a year,” says John, who now houses his cows year round and feeds first cut through summer, then uses the next three or four cuts for the winter diet. “We grow grass as part of our rotation, sowing it after winter barley. We’ve grown Maxiyield for the past few years. It grows very quickly giving a thick sward early in the season, then plenty of regrowth.”
First cut is early here – typically around May 10 and John is keen to take it before it heads. The first three cuts are clamped and the next cuts are baled and wrapped. “Maxiyield really seems to suit our free draining land,” he adds. “We don’t graze the aftermath – we find the grass grows better and we get higher yields if we leave it.”
Top quality silage is especially important here – not only for the milking cows but also for the beef cattle that arrive on the farm. “We typically buy in beef cattle from Cumbria and we like to feed them on grass silage for the first few weeks, gradually weaning them on to cereals. They’ve been used to a grass based diet and this high quality grass silage suits them well – there’s no check in their performance.”
John has seen milk yields improve since moving onto Maxiyield – his herd now averages 8800kg of milk despite cutting back on bought in feeds. “We’ve reduced concentrate feed and relied more on home grown forage and our Maxiyield grass silage is certainly contributing to the cows’ performance.”
Ron Stainthorpe, Barnby Tofts Farm, Lythe, Whitby
I reseeded a grass field with Monarch Graze and Cut in September and it established quickly and looked really well all winter. I was able to graze beef cattle on it the following April and I also took a cut of silage from that field in June, after a light dressing of fertiliser.
Yield and quality both looked good – the silage is in big bales, so I’ll find out just how good it is this coming winter. I don’t do an awful lot of reseeding on my beef finisher unit, but when I do some more I’ll most definitely be using Graze and Cut mixture again.
Roger Pomeroy, Ley Farm, Holsworthy, Devon
My two fields of autumn reseeded grassland – one sown with Maxicut and the other using Maxigraze – both performed well this spring and summer. I’ve used both mixtures before, so I knew they’d establish easily and that I’d be able to graze and cut the swards come the spring.
My 160-cow dairy herd took a first bite from the Maxigraze reseed in April. And I took two cuts from the Maxicut sward and have also grazed it. The grass quality and yields were good and I’ll be using both mixtures again for future reseeds.
Richard Reed, Milton Damerel, Holsworthy, Devon
I’ve been using Monarch Multicut to reseed my grass silage leys for the past three years and I’m extremely pleased with the performance of the 60 acres that I have so far.
The mixture establishes well – the ley I reseeded in September 2014 was quick to emerge and we had good coverage before the winter. It was ready for some slurry by February and I took a first cut in mid May, a second in early July, followed by a third at the end of August.
The mixture yields well and I know I’m going to have a clamp full of good quality forage to feed to my 290-cow dairy herd. I’m going to stick with Monarch for my future reseeds.
John SpenceSeed Sales Specialist
As a seed sales specialist, John works with growers and distributors to ensure our customers get the most from our forage, game cover and environmental products. John is also closely involved in developing the Monarch and LG Animal Nutrition range of grasses and in other industry projects such as Grassright.