Securing silage for winter feed from the current rush of growth must be a priority for beef producers as the prospect of a good grass growing season is less than certain.
So says ADASs Elwyn Rees, who warns producers not to be lulled into thinking productive grass growth will mirror last years example.
As a guide, Dr Rees suggests producers with semi-intensive 18-month beef cattle in their first and second winter should be looking to secure one tonne and five tonnes of silage/head, respectively. Spring calving sucklers, with weaned calves, will require about three and a half tonnes of silage/head.
However, Signets Alan Mathieson says producers must priortise grazing and increase stocking rates to 3 cows/acre (7.5/ha) to keep on top of grass growth. "Sward height should be held at 8cm and only when it exceeds this length should surplus grass be conserved.
"Its better to graze some silage ground now than make expensive silage only to feed it as a buffer when summer grazing dries up."