Building Forage Stocks through August/September
The drought conditions that Ireland is currently experiencing has negatively impacted on silage stocks across the country. Farmers are being encouraged to to plan for next winter to ensure they have enough fodder.
The average deficit in silage stocks on Irish farms is 28% of total fodder requirements, with many farms having deficits of greater than 40% of requirements.
What can you do now to ensure you have enough fodder for next winter?
Get fertiliser out immediately to maximise grass growth through August/ September to build grass supply for autumn grazing and to harvest a 3rd cut of silage in September.
Contract grow silage
Can you identify a neighbour willing to contract grow silage? There is potential for some farms to facilitate the short term growing of a silage crop through August / September and earn €75+ per acre. Talk to your neighbours about putting a plan/ contract in place (see overleaf).
Forage Crops (rape, hybrid rape, stubble turnips etc) can be incorporated into a reseeding programme, or sown on a sacrifice paddock to provide feed for the winter. These crops are suitable for dry soil types and need to be sown by the first week of September. Make sure to seek advice on forage crops. These crops are best grazed in situ.
Alternative grass forages
Fast growing grasses including Westerwolds and Italian ryegrass have the potential to produce a silage crop in September and again in late Spring. Best suited to tillage ground after a Spring crop is harvested. The advantage of these over the forage crops is that they can be harvested and transported and don’t require animals grazing in sit
Contract Silage Production Agreement (PDF)
A copy of the Contract Silage Production Agreement is also included. This is an greement between a Land owner or person occupying land on lease who is prepared to make land available for silage/fodder production and a purchaser for whom silage is grown on contract.