With many dairy and livestock producers focused on maximising silage stocks this year after 2018’s difficult conditions, CF Fertilisers has launched its handy online 'Aftercut silage health check.'

Aimed at providing valuable guidelines on how to achieve subsequent cuts, it does this by using the answers from a series of simple questions about how farmer's systems and management works. Then, producers will receive information and specific recommendations for maximising grass production in their individual farm situations, pointed out CF’s Mark Garrett.

“It’s designed to help grassland producers recognise the important stages in the decision-making process and also help point them in the right direction when it comes to fertiliser choice required to help them meet their objectives," he said.

“More than anything, it’s important that producers do not delay applying aftercut fertiliser. The more you delay applying N after your first cut, the more yield you will lose.

“Get N on more or less straight away and you’ll be OK, but delay it by one week and you’ll see a yield drop approaching 10% and if this extends to 14 days, it will be nearer 25%.

“Delaying the application of second cut fertiliser will cost you 370kg/ha of fresh grass per day so these are significant losses,” he argued.

He added that it was also essential to select the correct fertiliser product for each system, with phosphate and sulphur being particularly important.

“Use a high quality ammonium nitrate (AN)-based fertiliser to maximise quick N uptake and consider a rate of 2.5kg N/ha per day if you are disappointed with first cut yields.

“Fertiliser use will need to be balanced against manure application and good quality NPKS, NKS or NS true granular compounds should be used according to soil analyses.

“The 'Aftercut health check' will help with all these decisions and is free to use, enabling somebody to identify where they could make significant improvements in silage production efficiency, whether it’s increasing yield or improving quality.”

It can be accessed at www.aftercutsilagehealthcheck.co.uk