As pastures start to dry off and go to seed the quality starts to decline which not only affects immediate milk production but can affect long term milk production decline. The quality of last year's silage may not be as high as desired due to rain damage. This silage may not be suitable feed for milking cows, and should be fed to dry cows. Feeding grain may be an option to increase feed quality but there are some things to consider.
The current milk price is around 27 cents per litre (depending on milk components and future step ups). This needs to be compared to the current cost of grain at around 30 cents per kilogram (excluding freight). If the average response of 1:1 is applied this means spending 30 cents on grain only provides 27 cents of milk ie, every dollar spent you lose 10 cents. For every kilogram of grain fed you need to get an extra 1.1 litres of milk to break even. Since the breakeven ratio is higher than what is considered average, care should be taken feeding extra grain is economically viable (Table 1).
|Response||Ratio Kg gain: extra litre milk||$ return : $ spent||Investment|
|Average||1 : 1||0.9||-ve|
|Break even||1 : 1.1||1||0|
|High||1 : 1.8||1.6||+ve|
|Low||1 : 0.4||0.4||-ve|