Winter forage will invariably be required on dairy farms to supplement dairy cattle when grass growth rate declines in early winter. The early planning of the winter feed budget is a key component in estimating the quantity of winter forage required on the individual farm.
A fodder budgeting worksheet is available to help calculate your winter forage requirement:
- Fodder Budgeting Worksheet (Excel Format)
Other useful documents:
- Bale size (PDF) for various types of bales commonly used to feed livestock during the winter
- MakingSilage (PDF) - Chapter 36 of the Teagasc Dairy Manual
- RoundBales (PDF) - Chapter 38 of Teagasc Dairy Manual
- Guideline onto the VisualAsessmentofSilage2012Vol6No2 (PDF)
Guideline supplementary feeding levels for varying quality silages are found at Chapter 34 in Teagasc Dairy Manual:
- FeedingDiaryCow (PDF)
The principles of managing your grass are explained in Chapter 37 of Teagasc Dairy Manual:
- ManagingGrass (PDF)
Forage crops grazed in situ provide an option for some farmers on dry land to reduce winter feed costs. Yield and efficient utilisation will have a major impact on any potential cost saving with these crops. Issues to consider include variability in yield, quality and cross compliance.
Give the low yields of rape, min-till or no-till options may be more cost effective than ploughing:
- More information on Alternative (forage) Options for Dairying (PDF, 1.5MB)