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Analysis of grass prior to silage making - samples to 7 April 2021

Since taking our first samples, we seem to have had all four seasons within a week! Most of our farms have had bright but windy days, this sun has helped grass sugar levels which have risen between 1 and 4% from the previous week. However, the cold wind seems to have kept growth rates low. The AHDB reported an average growth rate at 20.5Kg DM/ha for the South West – up just 0.5kg from the previous week.

These low growth rates, combined with no significant change in weather (at the time of writing) for at least another 7 days, are making conditions extremely challenging for farmers to know when the right time is to cut.

We have also seen quite a lot of fertiliser sitting on the soil due to a lack of rain to wash it in, making it even more important that you know the nitrate levels in your grass before cutting. This has been shown in the samples this week where, except for the farm in Cornwall, nitrate levels have risen from the previous week. Our recommendation would be to test a selection of silage leys before you consider cutting.

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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