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Analysis of grass prior to silage making - samples to 21 April 2021

This week’s weather has been the same again for farmers in the South West – although daytime temperatures have been higher, there is still the risk of overnight frost.


One of the recurring themes amongst our clients is that they have taken the approach of cutting silage leys when ready, rather than waiting for the entirety of their first cut to be harvested at the same time – a very sensible move considering that we are due at least another two weeks of dry weather.

Although it may be a light cut, we suggest taking all 1st cut within the next 10 days:


  • There is a good weather window, when the weather breaks who knows how long it could be wet for.

  • Many crops are now showing frost damage, severe scorching of tips of the grass and this is beginning to rot on some crops walked this week

  • Grass is sucking a lot of moisture out of the soil, cut soon and there will be a green stubble catching sun light immediately and enough moisture to get 2nd cut on its way.


From the samples we have had this week, sugars have carried on rising, mostly due to the quantity of sunlight available to crops. However, the lack of rain is starting to have more of an impact with the AHDB reporting a reduction in grass growth rates to 24.5kg DM/ha/day in the region.


From our time spent on farm over the last couple of weeks, we have seen a large variance in colour within silage leys – we think that this is partly due to a lack of growth in crops which had a large amount of slurry or fertiliser earlier in the year. This lack of quantity has led to a much darker coloured grass as nitrogen has been absorbed. As the plant can only absorb so much nitrogen, testing nitrate levels will become especially important this year to avoid the risk of a poor fermentation in the clamp.


Please get in touch with us if you wish to send in your own samples.