Food for thought on winter feeds

CURRENT TRENDS in winter feeding will again be featured at AgriScot with competitive classes for whole crop silage in addition to the more traditional first cut grass samples.

South west of Scotland dairy farmer David Yates, of Meikle Firthhead, Castle Douglas, will judge this year‘s competition.

Mr Yates, who is a frequent winner of grassland competitions, makes grass, whole-crop and maize silage on his own farm.

According to Andrew Best of John Watson Seeds, the firm organising the silage competition, there should be some excellent samples entered at AgriScot on Nov 17.

“This season‘s first cut grass silages have high dry matters and, although quantities are reduced, we anticipate some real quality samples,” said Mr Best.

“With the wet harvesting conditions, fermented whole-crop has been a bit more challenging but we should still be receiving entries around the 30% mark for starch content,” he added.

Last year‘s average for whole crop entries was 35.47% starch with dry matter at 50.6%. The winning sample came from J Jamieson, Woodhead, Annan, at 39.1% starch and 45.9% dry matter.

In the first cut silage competition last year, George and Richard Parkinson of Springfield Farm near Blackpool, Lancs, took first prize with a sample returning 24.8% dry matter and 79.9 D value.

Competition averages last year for first cut silage were 27.87% dry matter and 75.8 D value.