Welcome rain brings out a welcome bumper silage crop
Published 11/06/2014 | 02:30
A wet and windy May is supposed to fill the barns with corn and hay. This was certainly the case this May as everybody is reporting massive silage crops.
First cut silage was completed on my farm on May 31, or more precisely, in the early hours of June 1.
The forecast had farmers under a lot of pressure and silage contractors as dry days were scarce. It seems in an unsettled weather period it is very hard to be accurate, so often we have to take a chance.
I took three grass samples before cutting and they were all different. One had high sugars and no nitrogen, another had medium sugars and some nitrogen, while the last had lowish sugars and nitrogen. I just had to cut it as the butt was getting yellow and a couple of dry days were coming. Luckily it did get sunshine for wilting for about six hours.
Extra precautions were needed around the pit as I had to really secure the stop barriers as the grass was heavier and wetter. I also put lengths of 50mm land drain on the pit floor to speed up the effluent getting out to the channel.
Thankfully the pit has settled well but I do check it daily for the couple of weeks to tighten down the weights along the walls. Slurry went out on the silage ground last Monday and has been well washed in since. Nitrogen will be spread this week to get ready for a second cut.
I reseeded one of the cow paddocks, which is almost 3ac. The grass seed mix included 3.5kg Abergain, 3kg Aberchoice, 2.5kg Drumbo and 2.75kg Clanrye. This was sown on May 30. The field was burned off with roundup, and we drained the wet places. Then it was all ploughed, got lime at 2.5t/ac, power-harrowed, and a double run of grass-harrow before sowing.