Silage - getting ahead of the game

Silage - getting ahead of the game

Farm Conversation Series

Work out the target cutting date

based on fertiliser and slurry applications, how soon can you cut?

Get your contractor on speed dial

if you haven’t done so already, make sure they know your plans and will work with you

Monitor grass as it develops

use pre-cut testing to keep track of the key parameters – sugars of more than 15% in the DM and nitrates of less than 1000mg/kg fresh weight for good fermentation, combined with NDF of 38-40% for quality

Prepare the clamps

clean the clamps and tipping area and repair any holes in the floor and walls

Silage in a day

only cutting what can be picked up in a day is the key to consistent silage and reduced risk

Assess DM

plan to cut at 20-25% DM using the grass dry matter guide

Don’t over wilt

you want silage at 30-35% DM and grass dries out at approximately 1% / hour in good conditions

Cut at the right stage

cut at flag leaf stage cut when quality is right and get regrowth rather than let it bulk up and quality decline

Chop length

cut at 2.5cm. Any longer can risk sorting in the trough

Stubble height

target 6cm for more rapid regrowth

Get it fermenting

use the most appropriate Magniva (Biotal) forage inoculant to achieve the rapid pH drop and efficient fermentation to maximise nutrient retention and reduce aerobic spoilage