If last summer’s drought taught us anything, it’s this:
Having enough silage available, and of good enough quality, is essential
When it comes to the weather, expect the unexpected
There’s no getting away from it; when you’re ultimately dependant on the weather to earn your living, you’re exposed to risk.
So, how do you manage that risk?
Preparation is everything. And it’s never too early to start.
Begin by calculating how much silage you’ll need next winter. If you need 1,000 tonnes, how many acres of grass do you need to produce that, and how many cuts?
But don’t stop there.
With the unpredictable nature of farming, ask yourself: do I need to make a bit more – say an extra 10% – in case the weather in 2019 throws in a curve ball again?
You feed silage for six or so months of the year. So it’s definitely worth prioritising silage-making as a strategic part of your business. The quantity and quality of what you make can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
To make more silage or better quality, consider reseeding, if you haven’t done so already. Weed grasses that creep into swards might only utilise a third of the nitrogen that a good quality perennial ryegrass is capable of.
Remember, too, that using a good quality, proven additive serves two purposes.
By improving the fermentation (essentially the pickling process that conserves the silage) not only does it reduce the tonnes of dry matter lost during storage, giving you more silage available to feed, but also better preserves the quality.
That’s important – because 10 years of silage analysis have shown silage quality hasn’t really improved. And if you want to make more milk from forage, quality silage plays a big part.
Free information and silage help
There’s plenty of good, freely-available information on making consistently better silage on this website.
And you can always talk to us. It’s what we’re here for. And we’re happy to help. It’s never too early to plan silage so get in touch to find out more about our free silage consultations.
By Ken Stroud, Volac Business Manager for Ecosyl – featured in British Dairying January 2019.