12 March 1999

RENAISSANCE CONTINUES

It is all too easy to take grass and other forages for granted. But, as profitability on livestock units is squeezed, making the most of forage – particularly grazed grass – is becoming vitally important.

Other factors are driving forages renaissance: Environmental and financial pressure to cut N use, an increasing interest in organic production and producers wishing to simplify over-complicated feeding systems.

And on upland units, many now recognise that to improve profits they should finish more stock, rather than selling as stores. That is where red clover – whose progress is tracked in this supplement – could come into its own as a valuable feed.

White clover, too, is attracting increasing interest. New varieties promise to be more tolerant of nitrogen and to grow earlier in spring, while development of hybrids could help solve drought concerns.

But on many units, simply making the best of what the farm has to offer is a pointer to better profitability. As one producer explains in this supplement, making better quality silage depends on 11 golden rules – follow them, and you are guaranteed to get better quality silage.

One weeks hard work and extra effort at silaging will give you 20 weeks of easier winter work, he says. And after this wet winter, anything which seeks to ease the burden of feeding stock must be welcome.