26 January 1996

Exceptional silage

SILAGE cut by Dyfed farmer Martin Sykes, and clamped in August, analysed at 60.5% dry matter, 69 D value, 18% crude protein and an ME of 11MJ/kg DM.

Mr Sykes always plans to make high dry matter silage at Cwmyntell Farm, Letterston, and even persuaded his contractor to buy a tedder, but the material is exceptional.

Though there was only a little spoilage near the clamp walls when the store was opened, the high risk of secondary fermentation at the face was clear. To minimise this he decided to use the clamp quickly.

His 180 cows are wintered on an easy-feed system. Blocks are cut and carried to feeding passages, which can be shared by dry and in-milk cows.

Lactating cows are getting about 13kg a day of silage dry matter. This is supplemented by flat-rate 7kg of a home-mix containing soya, fishmeal, palm kernel, sugar beet pulp and barley. When the 24m x 9m (80ft x 30ft) clamp of high DM silage was opened he decided to maintain the mix but reduce concentrate by a few kg a cow a day. &#42

Dyfed producer Martin Sykes is feeding unusually dry clamp silage as quickly as possible to milkers and dry cows to reduce the risk of spoilage.