Farmer Focus: Silage additive was good investment

As the rain pours down again in less than sunny Dymock, I have sneaked inside to write my piece. We have had well over 3in of rain in the last week or so and the fields are as wet now as at any time in the last 12 months. We have grass everywhere, but also biblical amounts of mud in places that at this time of year are normally dry and hard.

We managed to get our first-cut silage done and while it is slightly wetter than we would like, yields are 30% up on normal, which is pleasing. I think the quality will be good and due to the warm, wet weather I think our second-cut yields will be massive as well.

See also: Read more from our other livestock farmer focus writers

I used an additive as some insurance and we opened the clamp after two weeks and it smells amazing, with no waste, so I think the investment has paid off. The plus side of slightly damper silage is it’s easier to manage in the hot summer months so every cloud has a silver lining.

The weather gods gave us a break at the end of last week, so we managed to stitch some Westerwold into a piece of lucerne that was into its fifth year. We find this works well and gives us another 12-18 months from the ley at very low cost. The subsequent bales are a nice combination of 80% Westerwold and around 20% lucerne, which makes for a very balanced forage.

Our show season got off to a great start with Ernest being male champion at the Bath and West, and our daughter Ellie was champion handler with her Jersey Young Farmers calf in the dairy section. We have the National Angus show at the Royal Three Counties this weekend and are taking 12 head, so it’s all hands to the pump getting everything ready.

The Three Counties is a big part of our marketing year, so fingers crossed it’s nice and sunny and everyone can enjoy a wonderful show.

Paul Westaway farms in partnership with his wife Kirsty on a 69ha Gloucester County Council farm, running more than 220 Angus and Holstein Cattle. The pair also run an AI business and have recently launched an online steak and wine shop