Top 10 tips to get the most from your silage in drought conditions
01 August 2018
The recent weather conditions have left many farmers’ with growing concerns regarding grass growth and making the most from silage, particularly in areas experiencing severe drought.
Check out our top ten tips to help get the most from your silage this season.
1. Wait until adequate rainfall is forecasted before spreading fertiliser or slurry.
2. Grass covers are low or non-existent in most areas, so forage stock is likely to be low going into winter. It will be worth considering growing any winter grazing crop such as rape or kale or any other forage crop that you can grow in the late summer/autumn to feed dry stock in the winter.
3. Regularly monitor forage stocks, doing a forage budget will highlight likely forage shortfalls for the winter.
4. If the option is available, consider buying standing crops of cereals to ensile as wholecrop or maize.
5. Silage will be expensive this winter, so when we get some rain and grass growth, it will be vital to get the most of what we have grown to available as a feed (or to sell) in the winter. Poor practice can result in losses of over 25%! Good management practice from cutting to clamping can significantly reduce dry matter losses .
6. Using a proven silage additive (Such as Ecosyl) can half the DM losses through the fermentation process and give you more silage to feed in the winter.
7. If you are lucky enough to have enough rain or have a heavy enough land to grow some grass, maximise what you can grow, as any surplus you may have will be a valuable commodity to sell later.
8. Consider culling any barren or poor performers sooner rather than later, to take some pressure off your forage stocks.
9. Buying any forage or moist feeds that are available now may seem expensive, but it might be the cheaper option in the long run.
10. Remember keeping the condition on an animal is far more efficient in the long term than allowing them to lose weight and then having to regain it.