6 September 2002

Avoid silage but graze with caution

SUCKLER herd managers with surplus grass now may be better shutting it up for later grazing rather than trying to make a late cut of silage.

Promar consultant Ian Ross says that while many beef producers may be considering conserving excess grass, they should avoid ensiling.

"Long grass will stand up to a late grazing and this may be a better way of using the crop rather than ensiling it. Silage made at this time of year is likely to have a variable quality, but by grazing later into the season producers may be able to reduce the need for bought in feeds," explains Mr Ross.

But where stock are grazed later in the season, environmental considerations contained in the Suckler Cow Premium rules must be taken into account. "There are restrictions on environmental damage within the rules and payments could be withheld when producers do excessive environmental damage by poaching."

Late grazing may also have a negative effect on pasture quality and grass growth next spring. &#42