Robin Talbot: Silage saved despite rain
We are all great when we meet to make small talk about the weather, but this year's vagaries have made for very interesting and challenging times.
It's a year of extremes: no rain, lots of rain, record growth, no growth, then back to growth again.
On this farm it got very close to feeding cows silage in the field to slow up the rotation. At the same time we were making the next season's silage. Luckily the record growth kicked in just in time.
We made one pit of silage a fortnight ago in perfect conditions. We mowed it down and tedded it out with the intentions of wilting it for 24 hours but the weather was so dry and the sun so strong that we picked it up after 12 hours.
I would be very disappointed if this doesn't turn out to be very good stuff with an estimated yield of just under 8t/ac.
Ideally, I would have liked another tonne, but considering that there was no effluent and no shrinkage in the pit I would be confident that it will turn out to be good decision to cut when we did.
Our plan for this silage is to feed it next winter to the young bulls and heifers that we will be fattening.
Just doing a few quick sums, there will definitely be enough in the pit to see these cattle well into the spring, at which time we will be upping their concentrates considerably so the silage will be less important.