Latest research

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 LeggettDr 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.

Farm based research graph hi res

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