Quality Grass Silage
Over 85% of farms in Ireland make silage each year. Grass silage accounts for 20-25% of total annual feed per cow on well-run dairy farms, and up to 30% of total feed on beef farms depending on the production systems in place. The primary challenge for farmers is to maximise silage yield while at the same time achieving target silage quality for production system on the farm.
Key Technical Messages June 15th
- Continue to spread 1 unit N per acre/day of rotation on grazing ground. THERE IS NO RISK WITH USING CAN IN DRY CONDITIONS.
- Where there is a green drought, continue to hold the rotation length at 20-25 days. On dairy farms use meals to fill the gap up to 3-4kg. Thereafter, use baled silage if the situation worsens. Drinking water supply is very important in dry conditions. Animals show signs of dehydration within 24 hours of not having access to water.
- If not already done, spread fertiliser on 2nd cut silage ground. Apply up to 80 units N plus 10-15 units of sulphur. Get slurry out after 1st cut. Slurry is the equivalent 6-5-30.
- When removing surplus bales, it is important that potassium (K) is replaced. If removing 3 bales of silage per acre, use 1 bag of 20 0 15 to replace the K.
- If there is an opportunity, apply lime to grazing ground to increase the pH of acid soils.
- Do a fodder budget now to establish the deficit for next winter. The earlier the gap is identified, the greater the options available to fill the gap.
Calculate your silage requirements for next winter
Other useful resources
- Quality Grass Silage for Dairy and Beef Production Systems
- Fertilising 2nd Cut Grass Silage
- Optimising N, P & K for Grass Silage
- Fertiliser advice for silage
- Use Fertiliser to increase May Grass Growth to maximise Silage Stocks
Martin Davin from Rathdowney talks through the steps of cutting silage on his farm in May 2018
Gary Fisher,Teagasc talks to Alistair Doherty, Co.Donegal about what he needs from the grass and the weather before before he will start mowing. What fertilser was spread and and what is put on the grass after it's been cut.