SILAGE MAKING TIPS

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silage making tips 2017-01-10T23:19:43+00:00

Making well preserved, highly digestible grass silage with good intake characteristics is an absolutely essential component of maximising profits earned from the vast majority of Irish dairy beef and sheep enterprises.

It really pays to get it right, so it is really worth while paying attention to the details outlined below.

SILAGE REPORT EXPLAINED

TIPS FOR CONSERVING PIT SILAGE

  • Always establish Sugar content pre-cutting – J Grennan & Sons provide a full Pre-cutting Grass Testing service.
  • Cut at start of grass seed-head emergence. Silage Digestibility is paramount. (End of May)
  • Try to cut down grass when dry- ideally in the afternoon when grass sugars are at their highest.
  • Ideally wilt mown grass for 24 to 36 hours max. Remember, you will not be achieving a wilt without airflow through the mown swath, so use a grass conditioner.
  • For improved dry matter and to aid in the wilting process, consider tedding the grass but beware to set tedder up high so it does not contaminate grass with soil.
  • For enhanced palatability and preservability, apply Powerstart silage additive during pick-up. (link to brochure)
  • Fill pit as fast as possible.
  • Fill in maximum 12 inch layers and roll after every layer  – aim is to eliminate all oxygen from the pit
  • Seal perfectly – ideally with 2 layers of 500 gauge polythene.
  • Consider spreading Silasave on top and sides – it will greatly reduce edge wastage & is available at any of our branches.
  • Ensure all effluent is directed to suitable storage facility for subsequent spreading.
  • Be careful with all the machinery- farm accidents DO happen.

TIPS FOR CONSERVING
BALE SILAGE

  • Always establish Sugar content pre-cutting – J.Grennan & Sons provide a full Pre-cutting Grass Testing service.
  • Cut at start of grass seed-head emergence. Silage DMD is paramount.
  • Try to cut down grass when dry- ideally in the afternoon when grass sugars are at their highest.
  • Aim to leave on ground for one night only.
  • Condition the mown swath to get maximum airflow through it.
  • Aim to wilt grass down to 28 -35% Dry Matter
  • For improved dry matter and to aid in the wilting process, consider tedding the grass.
  • Do not mow or tedd too low- avoid soil contamination at all costs.
  • Use 25 micron wrap film – lighter film will NOT protect your silage adequately.
  • Apply a minimum of 4 layers of film at 70% stretch. We recommend 6 layers because you get a noticeable improvement in silage quality- particularly if wrapping high dry matter material.