Wholecrop silage can make an excellent quality forage for livestock farmers this winter. Well managed crops will provide a high quality, cost effective forage to maximise performance in your animals while maintaining rumen health.
Wholecrop silage is a good source of starch and fibre which compliments high quality grass silage by adding high quality fibre and starch to the diet. However wholecrop silage can be difficult to ensile and can lead to high levels of waste if not managed correctly. Below are some top tips for harvesting wholecrop silage:
- Cut at the correct stage: The ideal stage for cutting whole crop silage is when the crop is at 35-45% dry matter and the grain is at the soft cheddar stage. Cutting at this stage gives a good balance between digestibility, protein and starch content.
- Consolidation of the clamp: Wholecrop silage can be difficult to consolidate in the clamp so it is important to chop the crop to 25mm, have the clamp well rolled throughout the filling of the silo and have the clamp well sealed and weighted down. Ideally this should be done with a new cover and oxygen barrier to prevent waste.
- Use an effective inoculant to aid fermentation: Due to the relatively high dry matter of wholecrop it can be prone to aerobic spoilage during storage and feed out. To prevent this from happening you should consider using a high quality inoculant such as Magniva Platinum Wholecrop which contains L. hilgardii CNCM I-4785 along with L. buchneri NCIMB 40788 bacteria. This has been proven to improve the fermentation of the silage resulting in higher digestibility while also reducing dry matter losses and improving the stability of the clamp, reducing heating and waste.
For further information on wholecrop and how Fane Valley, can help you maximise its potential, please contact your local Agronomy and Forage