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Silage making

It finally looks like there is a dry spell of 5-6 days starting tomorrow with some

good temperatures and drying breeze. Soil temperatures are still low so don’t use this window to plant maize at the expense of making grass silage, good quality grass silage is essential so that takes priority, ideally pull in extra labour and do both at the same time (sorry, we’re both already booked out!!)

Grass crops are surprisingly heavy on the majority of ley grass crops even where little or no nitrogen was applied so these need to come off in the next week to make 11-11.5 ME silage. We haven’t seen a great number of grass samples but the ones we have all suggest crops are safe to cut.

Old leys and permanent pastures probably don’t have enough grass to cut yet but please walk each field as some crops are very dense. If no nitrogen was applied and crops look hungry then take a light cut now so you can get back on with dirty water and nitrogen so you make up the yield in the next cut. No point in delaying cutting a hungry crop.

Sugar levels are not high but a few days of sunshine will change that quite fast. So what about additive?

  • If the grasses being cut are high sugar varieties or Italian ryegrass then no additive will be needed if you can wilt for 24 hours in drying weather.

  • With older leys or permanent pastures where sugars will be lower then an inoculant could be useful.

  • If you think there is a risk of picking up soil with the rake then either don’t rake that area of the field or if it is a large area consider using a preservative additive such as Safesil or Safsile Challenger, its not acid so contractors are happy using it.

  • Best option of all is the extra tractor on the clamp getting it down tight or use of a silopress, then you only need additive is there is soil contamination.

Please use this good weather window, you don’t know how long it might be before the next one.

Please call one of us if you want to discuss the options,

Pete and Sam

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