Despite a difficult season for making grass silage and hay, 2019 some some phenomenal cuts were made, with many farms achieving the highest tonnes of silage ever.

As a result, many entrants in the North of Scotland Grassland Society Norgrass Silage competition, were disappointed with their analysis as the crude protein and ME values were lower than normal.

However, the farms that were judged still produced excellent silages, with the overall title presented to pit winners, the Willis family, from Glasgoforest, Kinellar.

This year’s event drew entries from 19 farms from Buckie in the North, to Laurencekirk in the South, with eight in the pit section and 11 in the bale section.

Entries were first assessed on analysis and allotted marks for dry matter, ME, crude protein and intake factor. The short leet of the highest ranking silage was settled and these farms went forward to the on farm judging stage.

Taking the supreme title was the best amongst the pit silage from brothers William and Angus Willis, who farm a retail dairy unit in partnership with their mother, Anne, at Kinellar, Blackburn.

They go forward as Norgrass representative in the Scottish silage competition, competing against the winners of the East and West area silage competitions.

Judge, Mrs Elizabeth Don from Freefield, Insch – winner of the bale silage competition in 2018 – said she was assessing pits for signs of waste and mould across the shoulders, side and top of pit. She checked the face for uniformity, contamination and signs of heating, while also looking at effluent control, and management of farm waste.

How the stock utilised the silage was also recorded with each farm scored on their production.

“All the finalists were potential winners – making full use of some excellent silage, which made the job of judging extremely difficult. Most of the pits and bales had absolutely no wastage or mould,” she said.

“The winning entries are to be complimented on their attention to detail on farm and balancing their rations to make full use of their silage analysis.”

LEADING awards

Pit silage – Champion – Willis Family, Glasgoforest, Kinellar; reserve – Messrs Thomson, Middleton of Potterton, Potterton. Finalists – Brian Mitchell, Hawkden, Gamrie and Allan Clark, Auchlea Farm, Kingswells. Best new entrant – Brian Mitchell.

Bale silage – Champion – Murray Cooper, Backhill of Thornton, Bourtrie, Inverurie; reserve – John Sim, Rorandle, Monymusk, Inverurie. Finalists – John Shand, Chapleford, Clochan, Buckie and M and J Imlach, Braeside, Fordyce, Banff. Best new entrant – M and J Imlach.

n Prizes and trophies will be presented at the 2020 agm on March 19.

Prizes and Trophies will be presented at the 2020 AGM on 19th March.

Silage pit Winner – Glasgoforest, Kinllar 1st Cut

Winning pit Your silage Pit average 2019 Pit average


Silage analysis

Dry matter (g/kg) 301 301 281 321

ME (MJ/kg DM) 11.6 11.6 11.29 11.4

Crude protein (g/kg DM) 129 129 110.6 128

Intake factor 106 106 99.6 108

Marking: Analysis Max. marks

Dry matter 6 6.0 6.0 5.06 5.41

ME 15 11.0 11.0 11.3 12.4

Crude protein 4 0.9 0.9 0.64 1.21

Intake factor 10 5.28 5.28 3.16 5.93

Total mark: analysis 35 23.18 23.18 19.07 24.95

Farm inspection

Total mark: Farm inspection 65 64.5 64.5

Overall mark 100 87.68 87.68

Bale winner – Backhill of Thornton

Winning bale Your silage Bale average 2019 Bale average 2018

Silage analysis

Dry matter (g/kg) 327 327 350 385

ME (MJ/kg DM) 11.4 11.4 10.9 10.9

Crude protein (g/kg DM) 162 162 134 128

Intake factor 112 112 105 111

Marking: Analysis Max. marks

Dry matter 6 6.0 6.0 4.96 5.91

ME 15 14.0 14.0 8.53 8.50

Crude protein 4 4.0 4.0 1.76 1.11

Intake factor 10 7.26 7.26 5.07 6.77

Total mark: analysis 35 31.26 31.26 20.32 22.29

Farm inspection

Total mark: Farm inspection 65 56 56

Overall mark 100 87.26 87.26