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2024 1st Cut Update

Although its been hit and miss, the return of the Sun has certainly helped to lift sugar levels in our fresh grass samples this week, although there is significant variation betweeen samples. Grass is growing fast, with GrassCheckGB reporting a growth rate of 46.5kg DM/ha/day for this week, which is ahead of the 3 year average of 42kg DM/ha/day for the same week in previous years.

Our target is to achieve over 3% sugar in the crop at ensiling which is why we show the sugar at 30% DM column.

Protein levels are running high so we would advise caution here. Ideally, the sugar in the DM then a protein of 18% or less will be safe, providing there is no soil contamination. Above this you may find that crops are more difficult to ensile with a risk they could compost in the clamp rather than ferment.

Nitrates are running fine on some samples (target < 1,000 mg/kg at cutting), but again there is significant variation, even between fields on the same farm.

Our advice this year is to cut as soon as ground conditions allow, and a good weather window to ensure you have a dry spell to enable a wilt to 30% DM, (24 hours if spread, 36 hrs if not).

However, given the wide variation in samples this year, we cannot stress enough the importance of testing your own crops before mowing.

If you are particularly concerned that ground conditions are wet and there is a risk of soil contamination in silage then it would be worth using a preservative type additive such as SafeSil. Silage compactors are great tools but beware of mulching the crop if it goes in very leafy as this will make the clamp face liable to slip forward when feeding out. Pay special attention to clamp edges and regular compaction of thin layers to reduce spoilage and improve fermentation.

Please get in touch with us if you wish to send in your own samples, or use existing sample bags if you have any, tick the pre-cut grass analysis box when filling in the information sheet.


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