26 May 1995

Whole-crop backed

CEREAL silage is a poor alternative to whole-crop wheat, according to ADAS nutrition consultant Chris Savery.

Wheat crops can be cut from mid-June, at the milky cheese grain stage, to provide high dry matter silage of 10 to 10.5 ME.

The cereal silage may provide bulk where forage stocks are low and give an opportunity for a crop of stubble turnips. "But urea-treated whole-crop wheat is a more controllable and higher quality feed," says Mr Savery. "The dry nature of cereal silage means secondary fermentation is likely and clamp losses are high."

Cereal silage and whole-crop wheat are not cheap when the potential income of the wheat crop is considered, claims Mr Savery. He advises waiting for second-cut silage and then making whole-crop wheat to make up forage stocks if needed.

&#8226 Arable aid payments are not affected provided the crop is maintained through flowering, says MAFF.