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Chalk and Cheese with Silage Inoculants on Heywood Property

Pioneer® inoculant 11G22 proves its worth at Michael Hawker's property

Chalk and Cheese with Silage Inoculants on Heywood Property

2017/18 Season

Owners: Michael Hawker
Farm location: Heywood, VIC

Comparisons of two different silage inoculants on the Hawker dairy property, at Heywood, in the south-west region of Victoria produced “chalk and cheese” results.

Michael Hawker, of M. K. Hawker and Co., said they produced tonnes of pasture silage each season and were provided with three options from their contractor.

“We could go with no inoculant, which really wasn’t an option, or we had the choice of a Pioneer inoculant, which had the buchneri bacteria in it, or a cheaper option,” he said.

“In the first year we went with Pioneer® (11G22) inoculant but the second year, trying to keep the cost down, we went with the cheaper one.”

“The results really were chalk and cheese.”

He said the year when the Pioneer® inoculant was applied they were a little bit slack on their stack management and probably only had 10 per cent of tyres that were recommended.

“There was virtually no wastage.  So little, you couldn’t really see it.”

The next season the alternative inoculant was used and there was quite a difference with the result.

“With the cheaper product there was more mould.  If there was a hole in the plastic the area went black.  I couldn’t believe the difference.”

The pasture silage treated with 11G22 was also left to stand when corn silage came on line and made up the base of the ration.

“We still had a small amount of pasture silage and we left it with the face uncovered planning to come back,” Mr Hawker said.  “Nine months later I finally got back to it.  We pulled a metre off the face and the silage was perfectly fine.  There were probably only three cartloads lost all up.”

He said the Pioneer® inoculant was good insurance.

“If you get air in the tarp or are using a few less tyres or have holes made by animals there is really only one choice.”

Rethus Ag Contractors harvest the crop each season and Mr Hawker said it was good to show the difference between the two options.

“I said to Daniel Rethus – you won’t believe this and when I showed him he said it was unreal.”

Over the past two seasons dryland corn has been grown for both silage and grazing.

Pioneer® hybrid P9400 has been used and achieved yields of around 10 dry matter tonnes per hectare.

Mr Hawker said corn silage had provided a valuable option in the times of the year where there was not enough grazing available.

“Last year we used corn through much of the winter.  “It coincided with our joining and there is no doubt we are getting improvements in our conception rates.  The corn silage has helped with that.”

“We are also seeing production benefits from it and the cows are generally healthier.”

The enterprise milks between 580 and 730 cows each year, with a range of Holstein and Jersey cattle.

Perennial ryegrass and clover pastures form the bulk of the grazing platform with corn silage being positioned to take a greater role with effluent water to be used in the future.

If you have any questions, ​contact your local Pioneer​® representative​.

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