4 August 1995

Dry July bodes ill for silage

THIRD-cut silage yields will be severely restricted due to the lowest July rainfall since 1976.

Only 39mm (1.5in) of rain fell across England and Wales in July, with central England recording only 29% of its annual average rainfall.

Up until now areas with high average annual rainfalls, such as the north-west of England and North Wales, have faired better. Rainfalls at 54% of the annual average have provided adequate grass growth.

Steve Ford of ADAS Preston said: "In north-west England and Wales, first and second-cut silage yields were not badly affected by the weather.

"But the situation is changing daily and grass growth is now minimal."

Further evidence of widespread grass shortages comes from Tony Evans of Genus: "All regions are now affected and third-cut will be pushed back into September in the hope that some rain will fall."

&#8226 For advice on stretching fodder, see page 41.