Save every blade of silage

SILAGE ADVICE RI Farm
Using inadequate silage-making practices can result in losses of over 25% of the tonnes grown not being available to feed in the case of grass silage, says Peter Smith, and it’s a similar situation with maize

MAKE every percent count.’ That will be the advice for milk producers from Volac at the UK Dairy Day event in Telford, Shropshire, on Wednesday, September 12.

Volac Ecosyl silage experts will be on hand offering timely advice for saving as much silage as possible after the summer drought – whether in any remaining grass to be cut or in other crops such as forage maize.

“In a normal year it may be possible to tolerate some losses when making silage,” says Peter Smith, Ecosyl silage specialist. “But losses this year could leave stocks on some farms perilously low.

“Do not underestimate how much is at stake. Inadequate silage-making practices can cause losses of over 25 per cent of the tonnes grown not being available to feed next winter. A quarter less silage in your clamp come March 2019!”

If ensiling grass in rapidly-drying conditions Peter urges farmers to avoid over-wilting. It not only risks losses from grass blowing about, but drier grass is also more difficult to consolidate, and so more prone to heating losses from aerobic spoilage.

“As an integral part of the process, including an additive proven to reduce fermentation losses, will give you more silage to feed. Similarly, look to use an additive to prevent heating in higher dry matter grass silage and maize.

“Check silage stocks regularly and budget for how much is needed. If unable to make enough then buying in extra forage or moist feeds now may seem expensive, but could cheaper option in the long run.

“Whether you are short of silage or lucky enough to have not been too badly affected by the drought, the message is the same: maximise every percent that you can produce. If you have sufficient, you may be able to supply some to less fortunate farmers,” he added.

Farmers can find out more about best practice when making grass and maize silages at www.cuttoclamp.com

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