16 May 1997

Buy your own crop

BUYING a standing crop of wheat for whole-crop silage may be one way to ensure adequate forage stocks in drought-hit areas.

Lower first-cut grass silage yields and the risk of poor maize establishment in dry seed-beds means producers should consider alternatives, says additive manufacturer Biotal.

The value of whole-crop is comparable with wheat harvested for grain, so a 7.4t/ha (3t/acre) standing crop would cost about £803/ha (£325/acre) including straw, says the company.

Whole-crop wheat at about 40% dry matter would produce 32t/ha (13t/acre) fresh material, valued at about £25/t. Additive costs of about £3.50/t and harvesting charges of £1.50/t bring the total cost of whole-crop wheat silage to about £30/t ensiled, it says.n