Tommy Boland: Forage analysis essential when planning flock winter feeding programmes
With silage making only recently completed on many farms it feels a bit weird to be discussing silage quality as we plan our winter feeding programmes at Lyons.
It still strikes me as odd that many farmers don't test silage/forage quality.
Granted there are issues with variation when dealing with bales, but some indication of the quality of feed on offer is very beneficial in planning winter feeding programmes.
We have some of the analysis back for first and second cut silage at Lyons. Quality is very good with crude protein contents ranging from 14.2pc to 17.4pc and metabolisable energy values of 10.7 to 11.2 Megajoules of metabolisable energy.
This reflects a programme of improving silage quality on the farm over the past five years. The battle now commences to see who will get access to the best quality silage for the winter feeding programme.
In the absence of conducting a forage analysis, people tend to over-estimate the quality of forage on offer.
This in turn can lead to underfeeding in late pregnancy, setting the ewe and lamb up for a difficult season.
The redstart had a pre-grazing yield of 4.1 tonnes of dry matter per ha with a dry matter content of 12.5pc. This crop was established on July 24 following the harvest of whole crop wheat silage.