Henk Abring

Dairy farmer Albring opts for highly productive protein cultivation

Grass-clover mixture ProtaPlus good solution in case of imminent feed shortage.

In 2018, a very dry year, dairy farmer Henk Albring was introduced to ProtaPlus, a Barenbrug product. Cultivating this annual protein-rich grass-clover mixture turned out well for himself and the arable farmer with whom he collaborates. The farmer is also considering protein-rich cultivation this year, depending on his supplies of forage.

Henk Albring and his parents' dairy farm is located in Drouwenermond in Drenthe. Having many arable farmers in the area, this enterprising family knows how to convert the benefits of cooperation into cash. This approach worked well, even during the long dry period of 2018, when Albring sowed the grass-clover mixture ProtaPlus on around 30 hectares of arable farmers' land. "They wanted a good green manure, and we were after protein-rich forage so that we need to buy less soy", the entrepreneur summarises.

Within the derogation, they like to keep the maize share at a maximum, to create their own concentrates in the form of MCS (maize cob meal). As a result of legislation and developments such as reliance on the land, the notion of increasing domestic protein is attracting more attention. This farm, however, has had this policy for years, so ProtaPlus is a perfect fit.

Three tonnes of dry matter despite drought
Three arable farmers sowed the grass-clover mixture at the end of July, after the wheat harvest. It soon became apparent that ProtaPlus is an easy crop. Despite the drought and without watering, the crop grew well. 15 tons of slurry were spread on the field. Experience has shown that the crop does well without fertilisers.

This resulted in a mid-November cut of about 3 tonnes of dry matter per hectare. Given the circumstances, this was far from disappointing. "And if there had been any rain in good time, we would definitely have had a second cut."
What was special was that the arable farmers worked the soil in different ways: with a cultivator, a digging machine and a power harrow. "The grass came up beautifully on all the plots. Apparently it is a strong crop that starts up well despite the difficult conditions.”

ProtaPlus fits perfectly in the ration
According to the farmer, silage of the autumn grass is best done in combination with a dry grass silage. They are very positive about ProtaPlus grass in a lasagna pit, in terms of both conservation and rationing. "ProtaPlus is fairly quickly digestible grass, and we try to add more structure to it with other grass."
According to the entrepreneur, it fits in perfectly with the ration. "We obtained good milking results with it." He does not have a silage analysis available of only ProtaPlus, but since the silage has an average of 18% crude protein, according to Albring, the protein-rich mixture must still be above that.

"Better to grow protein than buy expensive feed"
The supplies of forage will be the deciding factor this summer in the decision whether the Drenthe-based livestock farmer will choose ProtaPlus again this year. “If it appears disappointing, we will definitely do it again. We prefer to grow our own protein rather than having to buy expensive feed.” Particularly given the good relationship with landowners in the region, they expect plenty of opportunities. After all, it is a good precursor for subsequent cultivation for arable farmers.
Albring offers another tip in that context. “When you can see that the feed supply is going to be tight, you should go and find contacts in the area and come to agreements. There is still a lot of black soil in the autumn that is very useful for growing good forage.”

Are you wondering if ProtaPlus might work for you?
Are you also interested in growing additional protein for the coming autumn? And does ProtaPlus look like a good choice? Please contact the Barenbrug dealer in your area.

A robust and productive grass-clover mixture
ProtaPlus is an annual robust and highly productive grass-clover mixture. The crop yields 20% more than the best Italian fodder grasses. The combination of diploid and tetraploid Italian ryegrass yields a denser sward and, therefore, cleaner grass and more bearing capacity. Its good ground cover prevents water evaporation from the soil, which is beneficial in dry periods.
The high yield is partly due to the productive annual clovers Incarnate and Persian clover. They ensure a higher protein content in the forage and provide plenty of nitrogen to the soil. ProtaPlus can also be used as a good green manure in which the clovers provide additional soil structure. 

grass clover