With more dairy farmers now making multi-cut silage – where grass is cut younger and more frequently as a way of improving milk from forage – new Volac farm-based research has examined the potential of multi-cut to deliver extra milk.
Dr Mark Leggett, Microbiologist
Results confirmed that grass from a five-cut system was indeed more nutritious than from a more traditional three-cut approach – with an average digestibility (D value) of 72.7 versus 69.7, and delivering 0.5 MJ/kg more energy. Crude protein content was also almost 3% higher.
Over the season, the multi-cut grass also yielded 0.92 t/ha more dry matter (DM). When combined with its higher energy, this equated to it providing an extra 18,582 MJ/ha of ME.
Based on 5.3 MJ being required to produce 1 litre of milk, this means this particular multi-cut system had the potential to deliver an extra 3,506 l/ha of milk.
At a milk price of 25 pence/litre, this is equivalent to an extra £877/ha earned, which would still leave you about £333/ha better off after deducting the extra contractor costs.
While multi-cut grass has the potential to unlock more milk from forage, this is only half the picture. You also need to conserve these extra nutrients within the silage.