Dairy farmer and importer dealer Jørgen Søndergaard Madsen tell about a MaksiGrass wagon
My name is Jørgen Søndergaard Madsen, and I run an organic dairy production as well as the company MaksiGrass
MaksiGrass is a new company from 2017. The company’s activities relate to the import and development of a grass mower from the Irish company, Grass Technology Ltd. A grass mower known under a common term, Zero Grasser. The Danish trademark is called MaksiGrass. The reason for establishing the company MaksiGrass stems from the positive experiences I had during the summer of 2017. MaksiGrass is a term for a feeding concept and the name of a feeding wagon that can efficiently, gently, and innovatively feed large herds with large quantities of grass.
The concept of Zerograssing is not known in Denmark. That’s why I sought inspiration abroad – in Italy, France, and Ireland. The SIMA exhibition in Paris was visited in February 2017. After a visit to the Irish company Grass Technology, the choice fell on their wagon. For several reasons, but mainly because their approach to customers lies in optimal, healthy, and economically efficient feeding of dairy cows. Furthermore, the wagon is built for damp fields and wet grass, which are often experienced in Ireland – and Denmark. The owner of Grass Technology has more than 20 years of experience in production and advisory systems under Keenan.
With the positive effects we achieved in the summer/fall of 2017 as a background, I chose to take on the import role for Grass Technology in Denmark.
Alongside this job, I am still an organic milk producer with daily tasks in the barn and fields. BUT – only because of good and skilled employees can there be time for this job. Originally, I am trained as an agricultural technician and worked as a dairy advisor in Aulum for 11 years from 1988-1999. Enjoying being a part of this everyda.y life again. My approach to conveying MaksiGrass is based on each individual property – limitations and opportunities.
Lille Fastergaard: I took over the farm in 1994 from my parents. 30 hectares and 40 cows. When I continued as an employee, the plan was to eventually put the cows out to pasture, and the 30 hectares were potentially going to be leased out. In the late 90s, organic farming gained momentum, and two neighboring farms came up for sale. This led to building a new barn, converting to organic farming, and exchanging the dairy advisor job for the title of farmer. Today: 145 cows, 210 hectares, and 2 employees. Grass on 150 hectares and grain on 60 hectares. Performance: 10,000 kg ECM/cow
In connection with the ongoing optimization of milk production, I explored the possibilities of feeding with more grass. Various manufacturers of Zerograss wagons were contacted, including… Bonino, Juline, Belair, ZeroGrass, og Grass Tech. The Sima exhibition in Paris was visited, and the choice fell on Grass Tech from Ireland.
Reason: Strong construction, but also with lightweight materials where it makes sense. Simple function and low axle pressure. But not least, – the manufacturer’s interest in optimal feeding for the cows and the farmer’s earning potential.
The concept – Zerograss is a widespread Irish/British concept where the cows are brought into the barn or continue to graze and are supplemented with fresh grass in the barn.
Wet conditions and a lot of re-growth grass late in the summer have meant that many dairy farmers, using this feeding concept, can feed 30% more cows on the same area.
Zerograss – renamed to MaksiGrass.
Under Danish conditions, I have renamed Zerograss to MaksiGrass because my thoughts do not lean toward bringing the cows into the barn. Organic farmers can increase their grass proportion, and conventional farmers can supplement their complete feed with barn-kept grass.
The obvious advantages of more grass in the ration are:
- Possibility for greater forage intake.
- Opportunity for better protein supply.
- Thus, also the opportunity to save on supplementary feed (both quantity and quality).
- Lower machinery service bills.
- Reduced need for storage space and tied-up funds in forage storage.
Summer feeding plan before June 23, 2017 (the day when MaksiGrass was introduced): Grazing from 6-9 February until September. Then 2-6 February. Throughout the summer, supplemented with complete feed (Grass. Hels. Supplementary feed) 4-5 kg supplementary feed in the milking barn. 3-4 kg in the first half of the summer. Cows on pasture from 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM from around April 20th to mid-October. Complete feed at night.
Summer feeding plan after June 23, 2017. Refer to the overview of the supplementary feed units (EFK units). (under the tab “observation/results”). Complete feed has been replaced with fresh barn-kept grass at night.