HomeGood roughage is the basis for everything

Good roughage is the basis for everything

Read in this blog ‘Good roughage is the basis for everything’ how you can save on high feed costs and get the most out of roughage.

15 March 2021

Grazing is just around the corner. Cows run and jump when they are allowed to go outside for the first time. They throw their hind legs up in the air and make crazy jumps. A party! Happy cows make people happy. The farmer also does everything to keep his cattle healthy (and happy). After all, healthy cattle mean better performance and more milk.

World level

Animal health in Dutch cattle farming is of a high standard. In addition to the legal requirements, there are additional requirements for animal health and animal welfare. At a global level, the Netherlands is known for its good milk quality, which benefits the Dutch economy.
Some 60 to 70% of milk production comes from roughage. And Dutch farmers do a lot for that. After all, healthy cows give good milk. And they just want their animals to do well. So they pay extra attention to the accommodation, care and health of the cows. On average, there are 100 dairy cows on a farm and the cattle get as much feed as possible from their own land. You want the good quality of the roughage from the land in the cows as well.

Roughage is the basis

Good roughage is the basis for everything and therefore of importancy. One question that occupies many farmers is how to get more out of roughage. Just like we want to eat well, the cow wants that as well. And soon enough, you will find out what she likes. For example, the first grass that comes off the field in spring is the tastiest; grass is rich in energy and sugar. Besides grass – the largest part of the cow’s feed – maize is also on the menu; also high in energy and low in protein. In addition, there is a supplement of concentrated feed. Good monitoring of the cow and the ration composition is a requirement for maintaining healthy cows.

Roughage feed shortage

However, climate change is affecting the production of a good harvest. For three years in a row, we have had a dry summer. Drought makes a good harvest increasingly difficult. It is not inconceivable that scarcity of roughage will become a problem for the farmer. Not to mention social issues such as the amount of nitrogen emissions that must be reduced. Even though Statistics Netherlands (CBS) concluded that nitrogen emissions from dairy farming are 3.5% lower than in 2018. The farmer is stuck. On the one hand, there is the need to reduce nitrogen emissions and, on the other hand, the temporary restriction of supplementary feed. Good food is really the most important component for good cows.


Despite these restrictions, the farmer will try to get the best quality roughage for his cattle with his annual roughage plan. The most important capital is the farmer’s land and his cows. Whether he stores grass and maize in a silo or a silage clamp, the right preservation and covering are essential. This means determining the right moment to ensile, driving in the right direction, releasing more oxygen from the roughage and allowing it to conserve faster. If you only have 5% heating in the silage, then this quickly results in a large loss of feed value. The feed is less tasty for the cow and he gets less fodder. Not to mention other possible additional issues such as reduced udder and claw health and fertility. Therefore it is good that the farmer knows how to prevent scalding.

Clean silage clamp

Many losses still occur when roughage is not stored properly. A silage clamp helps to get the most out of it and to maintain a 1,000 VEM per kg/ds. A clean and well located silage clamp and a good cover are indispensable for this. The animation on the silage clamp of the future illustrates this nicely. A high axle load and wheel pressure are important for good compaction. Generally speaking, the higher the silage clamp, the better the compaction and preservation. Compared with a driving pit, in a silage clamp you use the entire width to achieve optimum compaction. So also in the corners and at the edges. If you do not drive it in properly, you will suffer the greatest loss of feed due to heating. With a high quality silage clamp the farmer reduces losses of roughage and saves 5-10% on high feed costs. Good roughage also means higher and better milk production. So the knife cuts both ways.


In five decades we have installed many silage clamps on various farms at home and abroad. Together we look for a tailor-made solution when choosing a good silage clamp. You need advice? Contact one of our advisers, without obligation, for advice on your situation. Or create your own silage clamp in three easy steps using our generator.