Volunteers sought for national silage survey

Volunteers are being sought for a national baled silage survey by the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences.

Researchers are planning to visit 80 farms during January and February 2012 to evaluate how different on-farm management techniques affect baled silage quality.

The research, funded by the Silage Advisory Centre, will help to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of different management systems.

“The results of the survey will provide us with practical, on-farm data to move forward in best practice recommendations to farmers where improvements can be made,” said David Craig, managing director of the Silage Advisory Centre.

Taking part in the survey will be free to farmers and in return for their involvement they will get a report which details the results of their baled silage. An expert will also visit their farm in order to discuss the findings.

All data will be treated confidentially and at no time will individual farm results be discussed with third parties.

“On each farm, three bales next in line for feeding will be assessed,” said Rhun Fychan, research scientist at IBERS.

“Any physical damage to the film wrap will be noted and the bales will be ‘pressure tested’ to see how well sealed they are. On opening the three bales, surface mould cover will be assessed before the cores of the bales are taken for chemical analysis.”

Farmers will also be required to complete a questionnaire detailing the history of the silage bales evaluated, with questions ranging from the age of the pasture, fertiliser applied, to the number of film layers applied and the style of storage site.

Farmers interested in taking part in the survey can register their interest online or by asking for a registration form by email.

 * For more stories, pictures and videos from Grassland & Muck 2011.