Dairy Australia - Dairy information for Australian Dairy Farmers and the industry

Primary content

Learn about the homegrown or bought-in silages, hays, grains / concentrates and other feeds used on most dairy farms to supplement pasture, forages and crops.

Managing common feed supplements

Deciding which feed supplement to use should be based on the cheapest energy form. You should take into account:

  • Infrastructure
  • Storage
  • Wastage
  • Logistics of feeding and using the supplement

Silage and hay

Silage and hay plans an important role in filling seasonal feed gaps, managing pastures, and providing low cost, high quality forage for cows.

What is silage?

When pasture is ensiled, its sugars are converted into lactic acid by bacteria. This lactic acid pickles the pasture and helps preserve it for much longer than if you had left it out in the open. Remember, it is impossible to produce high quality silage from low quality pasture, no matter how good the fermentation is. The quality of the ensiled pasture and the quality of fermentation are equally important.

Quality pasture silage - five easy steps (PDF, 1.81MB)

Making and feeding high quality silage with lower fibre levels encourages higher feed intakes and better cow performance. This booklet highlights five easy steps for making high quality temperate pasture silage. It complements the Ryegrass – spring grazing management, paddock guide.

TopFodder: Successful Silage manual

The TopFodder 'Successful Silage' manual has detailed information on the basic principles and practicalities of producing silage in Australia, from growing and harvesting the parent forage to storing and feeding the silage to dairy cows.

Click on the relevant chapter below to view contents of the manual in pdf format:

Contents and introduction
Chapter 1. Silage in the farming system
Chapter 2. Principles of silage preservation
Chapter 3. Silage as a pasture management tool
Chapter 4. Silage from pastures and forage crops
Chapter 5. Crops and by-products for silage
Chapter 6. Mowing and wilting pastures and crops
Chapter 7. Silage additives
Chapter 8. Harvesting silage
Chapter 9. Silage storage
Chapter 10. Feeding silage
Chapter 11. Assessing the economics of silage production
Chapter 12. Feed testing: Assessing silage quality
Chapter 13. Feeding silage to dairy cows, and processing prior to feeding

  • Copy Link Maize Grain

    Key points

    • Grains provide cows with starch for energy.
    • Maize grain is higher in energy density and starch content, and has a slower rate of rumen fermentation.
    • Maize may be useful as a complementary grain to wheat:
      • When grain is fed at high levels per cow per day;
      • When cows are freshly calved;
      • When cows are at increased risk of ruminal acidosis, and
      • In hot weather.
    • To optimise milk responses from maize grain, processing prior to feeding needs to carefully control particle size.

    More information

    Feeding maize grain to dairy cows (PDF, 496KB)

    Explains how grains provide starch for energy and discusses possible applications for maize grain in dairy diets, and processing prior to feeding.


Our Farm, Our Plan

Our Farm, Our Plan is a new program designed to equip farmers to clarify their long term goals, identify the actions needed and to manage uncertainty and risk.

Hay and grain reports

The hay and grain report is commissioned by Dairy Australia to provide an independent and timely assessment of hay and grain markets in each dairying region. The report is updated 40 weeks per year.

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