Silage Advice

What factors will prevent a good fermentation?

  • Introducing soil into silage – this is a particular problem below 25% DM when the clostridia bacteria from soil contamination can flourish and turn a potentially good silage into a very poor one with high DM losses (clostridial secondary fermentation).
  • Late or heavy fertiliser application – assume 2.0 units N per acre (2.5 kgN/ha) utilised per day of growth and apply no more than can be taken up before the planned cutting date.
  • Late slurry application – do not apply less than 10 weeks before cutting if surface spreading. If injecting, applications up to two weeks prior to cutting should be fine.
  • Application of dirty water or silage effluent – do not apply to silage ground.
  • High grass nitrate-N levels, ie above 1000 ppm (0.1%).
  • Bad sealing – if the sheet or wrap is damaged or of poor quality, air can get in.
  • Over-rolling wet young grass – with high quality direct cut or minimal wilted material under 20% DM, condition lightly, chop longer and roll sufficiently to level and tidy only.

Silage covered

Usually it is a combination of several of these factors, rather than any one, that lead to a poor fermentation.

Are you a farmer making grass or maize silage?

Sign up to our newsletter for top tips and advice on making consistently better silage and increasing the amount of milk produced from your own silage.