Growing and feeding maize silage

Maize silage makes a good feed for cattle and sheep. Our resources have a wealth of information on how to grow and feed maize silage.   

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The benefits of growing and feeding maize silage

Maize silage makes a good feed for cattle and sheep due to the following characteristics:

  • High starch
  • Energy
  • Intake potential
  • High dry matter yield

The best locations for growing maize experience high temperatures during summer, have medium-textured soils and are at low altitudes. However, maize can also be grown on less favourable sites, where techniques such as drilling under degradable film will increase the rate of crop maturity. Great Britain has both suitable and marginal areas for growing maize.

Wherever it is grown, maize requires attention to detail, from ground preparation right through to ensiling:

  • A good seedbed and careful sowing will give maize the best start
  • Keeping on top of weeds during establishment helps maximise yield
  • Field tests can determine the right time to harvest, while consolidation and sealing at the clamp will produce a high-quality feed

Maize plants and silage

Maize plants are efficient harvesters of sunlight and make excellent use of nutrients applied in spring. However, the crop has gained a bad environmental profile due to soil wash issues and potential nutrient overload. Producers must take action to mitigate these.

Maize silage is a good cereal replacement due to high starch levels, but its protein content is low. If fed with a high-protein component, it can provide a well-balanced, cost-effective feed for beef cattle and sheep at key stages in their production cycle. 

Costs of growing maize for silage

See how the cost of maize silage, and maize grown under film, compares to grazed grass and grass silage.  

Find out more about the costs of growing maize for silage

Harvesting maize for silage

See our advice on how to assess the dry matter of maize, when to use an additive, and best practice for the maize silage clamp.   

Learn more about harvesting maize for silage

Growing maize for silage

From the benefits of growing under film, to the control of weeds, pests and disease, our information will help you to grow maize for silage.   

See our information on growing maize for silage

Feeding maize silage for cattle and sheep

See our information to help understand the feed value of maize silage and maize grain, and some example rations for feeding cattle and sheep.

Find out more about feeding maize silage to livestock

Useful links

Download our guide to growing and feeding maize silage

To order a hard copy of the Growing and feeding maize for better returns manual, please contact or call 0247 799 0069.

Find out more about silage

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