Accurate harvesting time for wholecrop and efficient clamp management is essential in maximising returns, advises Alltech.

A new series of technical bulletins providing best practice guidelines on harvesting wholecrop and crimp cereals is becoming increasingly popular, as producers seek to reduce the impact of rising feed costs.

While it is important wholecrop or crimp cereals are grown with high standards of agronomy from the start, it is the final days around harvest that often impact most significantly on the feed value, says Alltech’s forage product manager, Matthew Smith.

“In order to achieve target dry matters of 35-40% of the whole plant and 65-70% of the grain, for wholecrop and crimped maize respectively, crops should be monitored regularly from 2-3 weeks after ear emergence,” adds Mr Smith. “Once grain has started to fill, crops should be checked every other day.

“Additives to minimise wastage and ensure the original feed value is retained in the clamp is important. Sil-All Fireguard, a combination of lactic bacteria and organic salts and has been shown to promote fast and effective fermentation, suppressing the growth of moulds and yeasts responsible for spoilage in the clamp.

“Sil-All Fireguard is effective for both wholecrop and crimped grain and when used alongside good clamp management it can improve aerobic stability and dry matter recovery when compared with an untreated equivalent.”