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The Uses and Value of Maize


1. Maize is used as a supplement in animal feeds.
2. Maize is added to the silage to increase the nutritional value of the silage.
3. Maize silage can be used on its own without adding it to grass silage.
4. Maize straw is used for bedding.
5. The whole cob can be boiled and used for human consumption.
6. Maize can be ground and used as flour.

Feeding Maize Silage to Dairy Cows

Feeding Maize Silage to Goats


1. Maize provides a high yield of DM of consistent quality from a single harvest.

2. The ideal intake of dry matter for cattle would be 13kg/day, however, 1 cow only eats approximately 7kg of DM/day. This can be increased by 2.5kg/day if maize is fed, making it a very valuable feed supplement. It is important to keep the diet consistent.

3. The same performance can be achieved from maize silage and 4kg of concentrates as grass silage with 6kg concentrates.

4. Maize provides starch in diet.

5. Maize and grass silage fed together are an ideal combination as the grass provides protein and sugar, which is rapidly fermented in the rumen, and the maize silage is high in starch and fibre and is slowly digested in the rumen. Therefore, they compliment each other. Also, maize is a high DM forage and so forms an especially good compliment to low DM grass. However, if there are adequate supplies of excellent quality grass the difference is not as great.

6. The Average Daily Gain (ADG) is increased by 1kg/day in beef cattle and in dairy cows, the protein in the milk produced is increased by 15% if maize is fed instead of other conserved forages. The starch content of the maize must be high though.






LWG (g/day)



Carcase gain (g/day)



7. In autumn calving systems the utilisation of grass drops due to the season so maize is very important. Feeding maize at that time of year allows the farmer to put out the herd earlier in spring.

8. Maize is also a good supplement for weanling rations, however, it is important to balance protein levels.

9. Maize silage makes indoor feeding easy.

10. Improvements in the body condition and fertility rates have also been experienced since feeding maize results in a more balanced diet. The animals are usually also cleaner.

Feeding Systems:

The advantage of maize is lost if an expensive feed system is employed. Therefore, the most profitable system is to let the herd graze the face of the pit using an electric wire. This wire should be moved about 8 inches every day. This system is very suitable as it does not involve the use of expensive machinery.

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