Grass silage thoughts

Discussion in 'Dairy Farming' started by Sylution, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. TomB

    TomB Member

    Location:
    Wiltshire
    This

    Came home to father saying third week of may was the time for first cut(which often became June if there were weather/contractor issues) and then spending the following winter wondering why we had negative milk from forage. Took a few years to join the dots....
     
  2. Sylution

    Sylution Member

    Location:
    Carmarthenshire
    20190314_182801.png

    Had a costings review recently. And this shows how my yeild from forage has changed recently. Been multicut for 3 years and I expected it to increase around 200litres with the multicut option, but it has decreased by that ammount. Some reasons are
    1 - unkind weather for grazing last 2 springs.
    2 - more heifers coming through

    3 - me not suiting the system. Because I have been more likely to keep an extra field or 2 for silage than graze nights in early spring. Mostly because of being afraid of being short of winter fodder. When really I should trust the system and not worry at the empty looking silo after 1 cut.

    4 - too much late season silage because the grass just keeps on growing. But that silage has less milk in it.
     
  3. eulb

    eulb Member

    1 you cant beat the weather

    2 your choice to have extra heifers

    3 go back to 3 cuts

    4 get some sheep to clean up
     
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  4. Sparkymark

    Sparkymark Member

    My experience is 1st cut has the most milk so my aims are to cut a maximum area possible 2nd to 3rd week of May. This for me means keeping the cows inside at nights until the aftermaths grow back.
    This way means i only need small 2nd and 3rd cuts to fill the remaining space in the clamps, while the cows enjoy plenty of grazing for the rest of the summer.
     
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  5. Agrifool

    Agrifool New Member

    Surely though if you weren't keeping cows inside til end of May then you wouldn't need as much silage in the clamps?
     
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  6. yin ewe

    yin ewe Member

    Location:
    Co Antrim
    Or as my aul boy puts it - 'not much point talking about quality when the toes of the grab hit the back wall of the silo.'
     
  7. The Agrarian

    The Agrarian Member

    Location:
    Co Antrim
    What makes you think there's less bulk to be had from smaller, more numerous cuts?
     
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  8. yin ewe

    yin ewe Member

    Location:
    Co Antrim
    No difference in bulk at all, but more expense having to cover the ground more often and we have rented more ground so that we could increase 1st cut acreage, meaning that we can keep the milkers on 1st cut from September until end of May.
    Like you, we feed blocks in the passage and most years find that the cows will eat the 1st cut grabs first before they touch 2nd/3rd cut blocks, regardless of what the analysis says. Maybe easier problem for diet feeders to get round.
     
  9. The Agrarian

    The Agrarian Member

    Location:
    Co Antrim
    Agreed it's more expensive to make, per ton. Less so per MJ of energy. Isnt renting more ground costing money too though? Not that I disagree with what you're doing. Feeding milkers costs money...

    You'll agree that the wagon is very useful for more smaller cuts though? The cost is per ton rather than per acre, so it matters less what the weight of the cut is. That leaves buckraking, which is per ton too. Mowing is partly per ton and partly per acre, as less diesel is used on lighter grass. That leaves the raking cost, which is pretty constant regardless of bulk.
     
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  10. james ds

    james ds Member

    Location:
    leinster
    Are you chopping the grass too short , and not wilting enough . Sounds like it if the cows are piping out slurry.
     
  11. My experience is hold your nerve and the grass will provide at some point in the year. Since when did later grass at 30 day regrowth have a different analysis to grass cut in April? Our silages all analyse roughly the same (12+ me, 70+ D) so we expect same production- only difference being we tmr with wholecrop so less sorting etc.
     
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  12. Sylution

    Sylution Member

    Location:
    Carmarthenshire
    Forage wagon used for silage since 2013. Aim for 25%+ dm. Mow today, harvest tommorow job. Last year all cuts were 28%+ dm.
     
  13. The Agrarian

    The Agrarian Member

    Location:
    Co Antrim
    Have to be honest here. Not for the want of trying, but our DMs were all over the place last year, with only one of the four cuts on target. And it was down to the weather. First was perfect at about 30%. 2nd and was far too high at nearly 50. It so happened it was 31 degrees at the time, and.couldnt get it in quickly.enough. 3rd and fourth were about 22, because despite being kicked out, there was no real drying in the air in between the showers. The only blessing was it was not stemmy as well. Both the dry silage, andthe wet ones, would have been worse had they been stemmy too.
     
  14. Sparkymark

    Sparkymark Member

    If i had to shut up more fields for 2nd and 3rd cut, i would need to house my highs at nights all summer as they wouldn’t have enough ground.
    At least this way i get to drop my feeder off for a few months and i go into the Winter with the clamps mostly full of 1st cut.
     
  15. yin ewe

    yin ewe Member

    Location:
    Co Antrim
    About 20 acres of our 1st cut is rented for 1 cut only so we have try to strike a balance between quality and quantity, as we are finished with that ground when the silage is cut. Usually it would be cut about a week after the rest of our grass, but still in May in a normal year. This was ground that I took specifically to increase our 1st cut area, so we could keep the milkers eating 1st cut for a longer period.

    I definitely agree that wagons are suited to leafy grass- have done the stemmy thing and wasn't impressed, hatchet job getting it cut out of the clamp.
     
  16. The Agrarian

    The Agrarian Member

    Location:
    Co Antrim
    $_86.JPG
     
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  17. Bogeyman

    Bogeyman Member

    Location:
    North Antrim
    where did your dad find that weapon at Agrarian cause you’d be too young to have had the pleasure that i had driving one of those ....though was good on a cold winters day
     
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  18. The Agrarian

    The Agrarian Member

    Location:
    Co Antrim
    It's a photo off the net, but I do have one hanging up somewhere. You're right. I never had the immense joy of using it!
     
  19. vantage

    vantage Member

    Location:
    Pembs
    Funnily enough we have one hung up in our old cowshed.My father used it to take down the top of our self feed clamp.
     
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  20. yin ewe

    yin ewe Member

    Location:
    Co Antrim
    Where's the seat?
     

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