Cutting edge silage advice for farmers planning to hit their silage target
In response to the fodder crisis in the north-west, Teagasc teamed up with Aurivo Co-op for a series of farm walks in Leitrim, Sligo and Donegal earlier this month. The walks encouraged farmers to take action now to ensure they have adequate fodder supplies for 2018.
Over 350 farmers attended the 'Silage 75' events which outlined simple steps to maximise this year's silage crop.
How much nitrogen to spread on silage ground?
Apply a minimum of 75 units of bag nitrogen with the required amount of P and K and sulphur based on soil sample results to grow the crop replace off take and allow for build up.
This will ensure that adequate bulk is there for harvesting when the grass is at the ideal stage for cutting and to maximise quality.
Applying 50-60 units of nitrogen for first cut silage and waiting for the crop to bulk up and harvesting from mid to late June results poor quality stemmy silage with a DMD in the low 60s. Additional concentrate feeding will be required to achieve target performance in all categories of livestock.
When should you have silage harvested?
Aim to have 75pc of the main cut harvested by the end of May to ensure high quality silage with a large percentage of leaf as the grass will not have headed out at this stage.
Early cutting will also allow for additional land being available for grazing from June onwards, faster regrowths and allow for second cuts where required.