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Winter Forages

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:

Other useful documents:

Guideline supplementary feeding levels for varying quality silages are found at Chapter 34 in Teagasc Dairy Manual:

The principles of managing your grass are explained in Chapter 37 of Teagasc Dairy Manual:

Forage crops

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:

Taking and preparation of a sample from a silage pit face