Multi-cut... multiple benefits
With the drive to maximise milk (and meat) from forage by making better quality silage, the multi-cut approach - of cutting grass while younger and taking more cuts per season - is becoming increasingly popular.
And for good reason.
Consider the potential benefits:
- Younger grass offers higher metabolisable energy (ME) - because it's more digestible (since it contains more leaf material and less stem)
- Protein content is likely to be higher
- There's potential for higher silage intakes - because silage that's more digestible won't spend as long in the rumen, so cows can eat more of it
- Frequent cutting can actually give a better total grass yield over the season
But the benefits don't end there. There can be whole load of other 'hidden' advantages.
For example, how's about faster turnaround when making silage - thanks to younger, lighter cuts being easier to manage and faster to wilt?
Or, easier consolidation in the clamp - from grass being less stemmy?
Or even, reduced silage variability in the clamp - from younger grass being at a more uniform growth stage when it's cut, compared with later cutting?
That said, there are some tweaks that are needed when making multi-cut grass silage (apart from simply cutting earlier and more often).
Which is why we've developed these additional multi-cut hints and tips for each of the six steps of Cut to Clamp. Click on the steps below to find out more.