Stender banks on alfalfa hay
He has also been feeding alfalfa hay for over three years to ensure that the high-yielding cows, in particular, are well looked after. A foreign delicacy. Alfalfa hay is grown in Champagne (France) and was long considered a real luxury product in the industry. Welche Erfahrungen Stender mit Luzerneheu gemacht hab, lesen Sie hier.
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The far north is an area of few words. Results count and facts have to speak for themselves. Stender, too, is not a man known to waste time on unnecessary explanations. Representing the third generation, the 48-year-old manages his farm just outside of Bremerhaven, whose expansive grounds are home to 200 dairy cows, 150 male offspring for the practice of bull fattening and 180 females for heifer rearing. All the animals have been reared on site. Stender's animals currently produce an annual output of 9,860 kg milk containing 3.96 percent fat and 3.23 percent protein. "My aim is to break the 10,000 kg mark", he says.
Allerdings, so fügt er direkt hinzu, dürfen unter der Mehrleistung keinesfalls die animalgesundheit and das animalwohl leiden. Seine Kühe werden seit Jahren regelmäßig untersucht and alle Daten fein säuberlich dokumenanimalt. He has also been feeding alfalfa hay for over three years to ensure that the high-yielding cows, in particular, are well looked after. A foreign delicacy. Alfalfa hay is grown in Champagne (France) and was long considered a real luxury product in the industry. Transport and its numerous special properties having turned it into an expensive affair for farmers. „Das product ist sehr empfindlich and kann aufgrund von Klima- and soilbedingungen fast nur in Frankreich or Spanien angebaut werden“, erklärt Heinrich Annegarn aus dem Bereich Agrarerzeugnisse bei der AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG.
Stender initially tried the valuable commodity on a few calves and was pleasantly surprised with the results. As native straw became more expensive, lost its quality and generally became more scarce, he then began to feed his 140 high-yielding milk cows a total mixed ration (TMR), containing two kilos of alfalfa, on a daily basis. Today, almost three years later, he is more than satisfied: "The effects have been clear to see." He explains that the animals are healthier overall, have a greater sense of well-being and have harder hooves. The 1-4 cm long blades of straw, rich in highly-digestible fibres, also have a positive impact on rumination, the pH value in the rumen, fertility and feed intake, as well as ultimately improving milk production.
Alfalfa hay is dried mechanically, which makes it less sensitive to dirt and dust contamination and gives it a dry matter content of 90 percent. Fine particles, i.e. small fragments, are fielded, pelletised and then put back into the bales.
Despite all the positive effects, feeding his animals with this special hay is just one adjustment Stender has made on his farm. He sees buying and feeding alfalfa hay as more of a long-term investment which promotes the health of his animals and thereby enables him to milk his cows for longer.
Find out more about alfalfa hay by contacting Heinrich Annegarn, AGRAVIS department of Agricultural Products, Tel. 0251 . 682-2277.