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Farmers Look At Duo Maize Success

20 September 2011

FRANCE and UK - A group of dairy farmers from the UK travelled to northern France to see how the Duo Maize concept is working in its sixth year of full-scale use there. They also compared this against their experiences in the second full year of on-farm trials in the UK.

The first visit was to Mr Bourgeois and his family who farm 145ha at Fontaine le Sec in Normandy. Their forage production for the 35 cow herd is Duo Maize, lucerne and grass/hay. The ration also contains a fair proportion of concentrates and minerals.

Mr Bourgeois is a confirmed user of Duo: “Once the cows go onto Duo, milk production increases. Also, with Duo, animal health is better and instances of acidosis disappear.”

The second farm was that of Mr Bertrand, who farms 230ha at Mons Boubert, Normandy with his son and neighbour. His herd is 120 cows and he grows 54ha of maize along with wheat, winter barley, winter oilseed rape, linseed and pasture for the balance. The ration is 100 per cent maize which is almost 100 per cent Duo.

Mr Bertrand made an interesting comment: “Last year the front of the clamp was filled with the standard maize hybrid and we had problems with acidosis – but when we got to the Duo maize these problems disappeared.”

When asked why they grow almost 100 per cent Duo maize Mr Bertrand said: “It was presented to us a concept that would give us more fibre in the ration as well as a better balance of starch giving us better management of the rumen."

“In Year One we saw no effect because it was mixed with conventional hybrids. But in Year Two, when it was put into separate clamps, we immediately saw a positive effect from the Duo on rumen function and lower acidosis levels. Since then we have maximised the area of Duo each year.”

Robin Turner of Caussade noted that the clamps were impressive on both farms, having very tidy faces with absolutely no spoilage: “No additives were used and the maize was put into the clamp at 30-32 per cent dry matter content."

“In Mr Bourgeois’ case he said could take more time to fill the clamp and compact it correctly, but Mr Bertrand’s clamp was filled within two days. In both cases the chop length of the maize silage seemed to be shorter than normally found in the UK and this would aid overall compaction."

“Also it was interesting to note that both our host farmers talked about rumen health and rumen management, especially the need for fibre in the rumen to promote good function and reduce the possibility of acidosis. This is exactly the Duo Maize message.”

TheCattleSite News Desk



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