Silage season gets under way in South West and Wales

Good grass growth in the South West and Wales has allowed many farmers to begin first cut silage earlier than expected.

Dairy farms in Cornwall, Somerset, Pembrokeshire and Anglesey have all started silaging, with above-average grass growth being recorded so far this year.

Anglesey-based dairy farmer Tudur Evans was among the first to get going, sharing a video on Twitter of mowing in action on 18 April.

See also: 8 ways to produce award-winning silage

Mr Evans told Farmers Weekly he had managed to start roughly a week earlier than normal and had got it all cut over a period of two days.

“It came in reasonably well. We think we averaged a freshweight of about 5t/acre [12t/ha],” he said.

A greater focus on soil health and newly reseeded grass leys helped the silage perform a lot better, Mr Evans said.


Laura Awdry, an AHDB knowledge exchange manager, said first cut silage was also completed last week at her beef and arable farm in Cornwall.

The silage was baled and yields averaged 4.5t/ha of dry matter (DM).

Ms Awdry said farmers in Cornwall usually started first cut a touch earlier than the rest of the country. Quite a few started last week, and plenty more farmers in the region are hoping to get under way in the coming days.

Growth and quality

During April, dairy farms have been producing a higher amount of DM/ha each day compared with the four-year average, according to figures from GrassCheckGB, a grass monitoring project which covers 50 dairy, beef and sheep farms during the growing season, with growth and quality data published weekly.

Grass growth on dairy farms was estimated at 51.1kg/ha DM daily, for the week ending 23 April, while British beef and sheep farms averaged 21.3kg/ha DM.

Grass averaged 22.2% protein, 9.8% sugars and 17.6% DM.

A colder snap and wetter conditions during the past week have slowed growth slightly. However, looking towards the end of the month and into early May, drier and warmer periods are forecast.