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Making Quality Silage Part 1: Graze, Fertilise & Close

On this week’s Beef Edge podcast Teagasc Drystock advisor Terry Carroll and Kilkenny beef farmer John Phelan join Catherine Egan in a two part series on making quality silage. On this first episode John and Terry highlight all the top tips relating to grazing, fertilising and closing silage ground

25% of the annual feed budget consists of grass silage and silage accounts for 40% of the feed costs for the year. Hence it’s so important to make the best quality silage as possible.

John Phelan, Kilkenny beef farmer, explains his mixed beef and tillage enterprise. He finishes 300-350 heifers per year and consistently makes excellent quality silage >75DMD.   John details the benefits of making good quality silage including reduced costs and good performance with 0.8kg/head/day being achieved with 1kg or concentrates and top quality silage over the winter period. He believes that he would need to feed 3-4 kg of concentrates to achieve the same performance with poorer quality silage.   

Terry Carroll, Teagasc advisor in Kilkenny, advises that farmers should graze silage ground to increase the quality and reduce dead material in the sward. He suggests that farmers need to have a plan as to when they want to cut silage and how much top quality silage the farm needs - every farm is different.

By closing at the end of March, the aim is to harvest the crop mid-May, depending on the weather.  Terry also advises on the fertiliser required to grow the crop and how farmers can assess for weeds, particularly docks.

For further information on the 10 steps to making better quality silage here

Or watch this video: https://fb.watch/47q9VdsXAz/

For more episodes and information covered on the Beef Edge, visit the show page at: www.teagasc.ie/thebeefedge