Early first-cut silage results are promising

Despite the fact silage harvest started later across many parts of country as a result of cool weather, initial results show quality is good.

However, with yields a little bit lower than typical further north, farmers are being advised to keep an eye on potential sulphur deficiencies.

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In the South West and south Wales, Hefin Lloyd, farm adviser from GrowHow, says anecdotal evidence suggests heavy first cuts, with medium to good silage quality potential.

He adds: “The early results from two trial farms are very encouraging. Metaboliseable energy is above 11 MJ/kg and D-values are above 71%.

“At the moment, prospects for second cuts look very good. With warmer conditions there is potential for high yields.”

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But further north, cooler weather has had more of an impact and yields are lower than typical, but quality is still reasonable.

“People made the decision to cut for quality rather than yield,” explains Ross Leadbeater, GrowHow farm adviser for the Midlands. “This means the grass already in the clamp will make good silage and there is still potential in the ground for a strong second cut.”

In this part of the country it is reported that quality is also reasonable. D values and ME are both good but crude protein has been more variable – between 12-18%, explains Mr Leadbeater.

“There are some reports of the edge being taken off the yields due to a lack of sulphur in Leicestershire and as far away as Scotland,” he adds.

“Lanarkshire-based Galloway & MacLeod use the Malate:Sulphate tissue test to diagnose deficiency and are reporting ratios of 7:1 – way above the 2:1 deficiency.

“Obviously this will vary field by field but it is something for farmers to keep an eye on.”