Limagrain UK has just launched Beta-Maize – an innovative feed concept which is currently being used very successfully in Denmark. This high energy feed for cattle is based around the mixing of fodder beet and maize in the same clamp and it provides an all year round feeding option.
The approach to this interesting combination is to ensile crushed and chopped fodder beet and maize at the same time using a ratio of one part fodder beet to three parts maize. Once the ensiling operation has been completed then no more feed preparation is needed. The sugars from the fodder beet and the starch and fibre from the maize combine together to create a high energy feed. Beta-Maize is also highly palatable and significantly increases dry matter intakes in cattle. The end result is an excellent home-grown feed which reduces the need to purchase expensive concentrates.
Limagrain's John Spence outlines the best way to grow Beta-Maize and which varieties to grow for optimum results:
“Farmers should harvest their fodder beet and maize simultaneously. The maize variety selected should be suitable for their area and able to reach 32% DM by harvest. The variety Activate would be a first class choice for this purpose. The fodder beet needs to be high yielding and should have a high DM content as this will prevent effluent run off from the clamp. Ideally, a variety with a low dirt score should be grown because excess soil will lead to spoilage. The varieties we recommend include Robbos and Blaze.”
Mr Spence says that Beta-Maize offers a high energy feed concentrate that enables farmers to feed fodder beet not just for a few months but all year round.
The company has published a new leaflet specifically on this concept and this can be viewed or downloaded from the Limagrain website. Navigate to the maize section via the menu on the left hand side of the page and then click on the appropriate pdf file at the top of the page (Beta-Maize Silage Guide 2012).