Beef amp Sheep SILAGE MANUAL AHDB Beef amp Lamb

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The information in this booklet has been sourced from The Grassland EBLEX Better Returns Programme has. Development Centre and IBERS University of Aberystwyth the Silage funded the writing and publication of. this booklet While the authors have, Advisory Centre www silageadvice com Kingshay Forage Choice. worked on the best information available, Costs and Rotations Report 2010 British Grassland Society. to them neither the Better Returns, www silagedecisions co uk DairyCo Grass Programme nor the authors shall in any. event be liable for any loss damage or,injury howsoever suffered directly or. Illustrations Tebbit Design indirectly in relation to the booklet or. Photography ADAS BGS EnviroSystems UK Ltd NADIS the information on which it is based. Reference herein to trade names and,proprietary products and services.
without stating that they are,protected does not imply that they. may be regarded as unprotected and,thus free for general use. For more information contact,No endorsement of named products. Better Returns Programme or services is intended nor any. EBLEX criticism implied of other alternative,Ashton House but unnamed products. Ambury Road South,Huntingdon,Tel 0870 241 8829,Fax 0844 774 6253.
Email brp eblex org uk,www eblex org uk, EBLEX is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board AHDB. Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board 2011 All rights reserved. 2 Growing good grass Grass grown for silage has different needs to. grass grown solely for grazing Done well it can,provide high quality forage for winter feeding. 4 Nutrients for silage,As with all crops good silage depends on using. the right varieties of grass while optimising, 5 Big bales or clamp soil conditions for growth Then many. management decisions are needed including, 6 The ensiling process how to store when to cut and how to feed.
Producing silage is not cheap So the challenge, 8 Making good silage is to produce enough of adequate quality for. the stock that is going to eat it be it dry cows,10 Making good or finishing cattle. silage bales This manual covers many of the key issues. when making silage, 11 Making good Tables at the back can help you work out. clamp silage how much silage you have and to calculate. how much it costs to produce which is,useful for comparing it to other potentially. 12 Silage analysis cheaper alternative feeds that may be. available locally,14 Calculating winter,feed rations.
16 Making up a forage Dr Liz Genever,shortfall Livestock Scientist. 17 Calculating the cost,Growing good grass, The starting point for growing good grass for silage is the soil. Having adequate fertility and good structure are crucial. Less than 10 of beef and sheep farmers regularly soil test and few dig holes. to check what is happening under the surface Without attention to the soil. grass and silage yields will be compromised, BRP has produced a manual which takes a closer look at managing soils for. best returns from grassland Email brp eblex org uk or call 0870 241 8829. to request a free copy,Selecting the right types of grass. Silage can be cut from a variety of field types from specialist short term leys to permanent pastures. that are mainly grazed, Ryegrasses have been bred for many decades for yield quality and the ability to utilise nutrients.
They are important for silage making, Both white and red clover can also make excellent conserved forage but selecting the right type is essential. Specialist silage Medium term cutting and Long term cutting and. leys 1 3 years grazing leys 2 4 years grazing leys 5 years. Perennial ryegrass,Perennial ryegrass,tetraploida,Italian ryegrass. Hybrid ryegrass,White clover,small leaf,White clover. medium leaf,White clover,large leaf,Red clover, Tetraploids have a more upright growth habit and work better in a cutting system. Hybrid ryegrass is a cross between perennial and Italian varieties combining the strengths of the two parent species. The Recommended Grass and Clover Lists are updated annually providing. information on the best performing grasses and clover available from merchants. participating in the Grass Levy Scheme The varieties that make it onto the list. have been independently tested by NIAB,Growth stages.
All grass wants to do is reproduce and throw up a seed head Good grassland management prevents. this happening With silage the aim is to control the amount of heading. Grass varieties have different heading dates which are triggered by different temperatures eg early. heading grasses can start to grow at low temperatures in March and April. The stage of growth at which the,crop is cut will have more influence. on the eventual feeding value of the,silage than any other factor under. the farmer s control,Heading date,Grasses are classified according to heading. date the date on which 50 of the ears,in fertile tillers have emerged Choose a. silage mixture with similar heading dates,There is a tricky balance to achieve.
between producing low yields of highly 72 D value 68 D value 65 D value flower. digestible young grass and high yields leafy growth lengthening heads emerging. of mature stemmy herbage which has Typical first cut of stems Typical first cut. low digestibility yield of a long Typical first cut yield of a long term. term ley yield of a long term ley 7 5t DM ha, The target will depend on the type of 4 6t DM ha ley 6 1t DM ha. stock being fed eg dry cows or growing,youngstock,Weed control. High levels of perennial broad leaved weeds such as docks and thistles reduce silage yield and quality. Weeds also use nutrients that have been applied to boost grass growth wasting money. Effective herbicides need up to three weeks to get into the roots Plan spray dates and balance ideal. growth stage of the weed for treatment with the anticipated cutting date. Assess pasture in early spring and use a targeted product whenever possible Ensure the weed is actively. growing and follow manufacturers recommendations, When considering whether to spray clover swards assess the real density of clover then compare the. value of the nitrogen being supplied by the clover with the cost of the yield reduction caused by the. weeds A 20 weed infestation will reduce grass yield by at least 20. Nutrients for silage, The nutrient status of grassland can be boosted by inorganic fertilisers However the value of nutrients. contained in organic manures which have been deposited by animals or spread mechanically should. be taken into account before any inorganic fertiliser is applied. Acidity pH Nitrogen N, Yield reductions will result if pH falls below the Grassland can utilise 2 5kg N ha day around 2.
ideal of 6 6 5 units of N acre day under ideal weather conditions. This can come from soil N manures and, pH 4 5 4 5 5 0 5 0 5 5 5 5 6 0 6 0 6 5 inorganic fertiliser. Yield 87 88 91 96 100 The average N fertiliser applied on UK beef and. sheep farms is between 40 60kg ha Clover and,manure deposition increases the amount. Phosphate P and Potash K Too much N produces grass with low sugar levels. Fields which are regularly cut for silage have a and any resulting silage can have high ammonia. higher requirement for P and K and butyric acid levels making it less palatable. Too little N compromises yield and protein levels,A 30 dry matter silage contains 2 1kg of P. can be low,and 7 2kg of K per tonne of fresh material so. the addition of K is particularly important to Effect of nitrogen on grass yield. maintain grass yields,Even at K index 2 the maintenance requirement.
in a multi cut silage system is between,Grass yield tonnes DM. 40 60kg ha at each cut At index 2 on a grazing 10,only pasture the maintenance requirement is nil 8. Sulphur S 4,Sulphur deficiency is increasingly common in. grassland especially in second or later cuts where. high rates of nitrogen have been applied and 0 Zero N 50kg 100kg 150kg 200kg. N ha year N ha year N ha year N ha year,especially on shallow or sandy soils Deficiencies. can cause large reductions in yield,Clovers ability to fix nitrogen and make it.
When S deficiency is indicated by poor growth available in the soil for plants reduces the. and a yellow tinge to the youngest leaves apply need for additional fertilisers or manure on. 40kg of SO3 ha as a sulphate containing fertiliser grass clover swards. at the start of growth before each cut,BRP has produced a manual that explains. how red and white clovers can be, The 8th Edition of the Fertiliser Manual RB209 incorporated into grassland systems. goes into more detail and is available from Email brp eblex org uk or call. www defra gov uk 0870 241 8829 to request a,Big bales or clamp. The choice of storing silage as big bales or in a clamp will depend on the availability of a clamp and. contractors or equipment the amount of silage being made and feeding system. If managed well the quality of big bale silage can be similar to clamp silage. Fermentation losses are generally half of those reported in clamps. Low aerobic spoilage Not suitable for very wet silage. Flexibility to cut at optimum cutting date for Labour intensive at feeding out. each field, Can target quality to livestock needs Risk of variability between bales. Good for storing surplus grass especially cuts Prone to damage mechanical birds vermin. taken in autumn, Low dry matter loss 5 10 during Plastic disposal high cost of compliance with.
production and storage waste regulations, Limited capital investment low transport and High unit costs. storage costs, Large scale operation allows speedy harvest Depreciation cost of clamp. Consistent quality for each cut Higher DM losses than bale 25 vs 8. Suitable for a range of dry matters up to 40 Heating mould development at face at. Key DM dry matter, TOP TIP Record the yield number of bales or number of loads harvested off each field and. calculate its total yield This will highlight underperforming fields. The ensiling process, Silage making preserves grass in lactic acid produced by bacteria naturally present on the fresh crop. These beneficial bacteria allow fermentation to take place which maintains nutrient content even after. months of storage This process also prevents harmful bacteria and moulds developing. Wilting Fermentation, As soon as the crop is cut the grass starts to lose.
nutrients due to plant respiration and the break, down of sugars and protein Aerobic stage air present. Rapid wilting and ensiling minimises these losses Lasts a few hours. by quickly creating acid levels that stop further Oxygen levels reduced. respiration These reactions require anaerobic,air free conditions which is why quick. consolidation in the clamp and sealing is crucial,Sugar Fermentation stage. For best results the crop needs an adequate sugar Begins when no air left. content 2 3 sugar in the fresh grass equivalent Can last several weeks. to 10 15 sugar in the dry matter Lactic acid dominates. Young leafy grass that has been well fertilised pH drops to 3 7 5 0. grass clover mixtures and autumn cuts tend to,have low sugar levels and lactic acid production. may be insufficient to stop all spoilage Applying,additives can help prevent this.
Stable stage, Wet crops Can be reached in two to three days if additive used. Wet crops have to reach a lower pH to inactivate Aim for pH 3 8 4 3. all undesirable bacteria Acid additives can help,achieve a stable preservation quicker. Well fermented silage has a fruity smell,Storage stage. or no aroma and should look bright,Acidic conditions limit microbial activity as. long as clamp bale is air tight, TOP TIP To avoid soil contamination Micro organism populations gradually decline.
roll fields when ground conditions allow,Potentially dangerous organisms such as. carry out mole control in November,clostridia and bacilli can survive as spores. do not cut too low,Acid based additives can help reduce the. impact of soil contamination,What happens when it goes wrong. Poorly made silage has a noticeable usually disagreeable smell Animals will not be keen to eat it and. there will be a high degree of wastage Some silages can be dangerous to feed. Problem Cause, Rancid fishy odour Slimy sticky High butyric acid level due to.
texture soil contamination or,late manure application or. Mouldy silage with a musty odour Presence of oxygen due to. poor filling and sealing or,high DM 50 or poor feeding out management. Smells of vinegar Acetic acid vinegar fermentation due to high air levels. Sweet smelling silage High levels of ethanol produced by moulds plus some acetic acid. Ammonia odour Due to,excessive protein breakdown to ammonia or. clostridial fermentation or,Smells like tobacco or burnt Due to. Looks olive green excessive heating or,too high DM.
Key DM dry matter, Listeriosis Most cases occur four to six weeks after eating. Listeria bacteria thrive in soil and can be picked affected silage. up at harvesting if the crop is cut too low or there. are a lot of mole hills in the field,Silage eye Bovine iritis. They are a particular problem of high dry matter in cattle can be caused. later cut silage which is more difficult to consolidate by listeria infection. to exclude air These forages often have low sugar from silage. Typical first cut yield of a long term ley 4 6t DM ha 68 D value lengthening of stems Typical first cut yield of a long term ley 6 1t DM ha 65 D value flower heads emerging Typical first cut yield of a long term ley 7 5t DM ha 3 4 Nutrients for silage The nutrient status of grassland can be boosted by inorganic fertilisers However the value of nutrients contained in organic

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