Take Control of Your First Cut Silage

23rd April 2020

First cut silage making is fast approaching, especially for those farmers wanting to maximise quality rather than quantity and maximise production from forage.

Reseeded swards are much more efficient at utilising nitrogen to build proteins compared to older swards, even in the cold conditions experienced this spring, many of these swards will soon be at a suitable stage for cutting.

With the late slurry and fertiliser applications this spring and the period of dry weather, we need to check the swards for evidence of slurry contamination both on the leaf and soil surface. The use of low emission slurry application means, bands of slurry are placed on the soil surface, but in dry weather ‘caking’ can occur and using tedders/rakes can bring this into the swath.

Before cutting, grass should be checked for nitrate levels. Early indications this spring are that nitrates are low, with the nitrogen not taken up fully by the plant due to the dry conditions. 

When it does rain again however, nitrates can rise in the grass leading to fermentation issues. A combination of excess nitrate, low sugar and low dry matter can result in a poor fermentation with the resultant loss of nutrients and an unpalatable and unstable silage.

By using Magniva crop and condition specific inoculants an effective fermentation can be achieved even under challenging conditions. Magniva inoculants have unique bacteria and enzyme combinations and have shown in trials to be very effective at producing a rapid fermentation, preserving both protein and nutrients, reducing aerobic spoilage at feed-out and increasing digestibility and palatability. The result will be seen through higher intakes, reduced feed costs and overall a higher performance from forage.

For further information on Magniva inoculants and how Fane Valley can help improve silage quality please contact your local Agronomy and Forage Specialist or the office on 028 9261 0485.