ON the back of one of the hottest, driest summers on record, silage making was no easy feat for some farmers, but despite a year of challenging climate issues, silage producers came together to be judged at AgriScot by independent assessor, Hugh McClymont.

Joined by guest assessor, RHASS chairman Jimmy Warnock, they gave a live critique at the Ingliston event, as the samples were assessed.

Silage samples from across Scotland, and one from over the border in Northumberland were judged having been selected for live assessment based on their chemical analysis.

The winning silage in the beef and sheep category clamp silage category was Jamie McIntyre, Milton of Cullerlie, Aberdeenshire. He took the award for his sample, cut on June 1, which analysed at 30.5 dry matter and 11.6 metabolizable energy and a crude protein of 13%. Castle Sinnines farm, Newton Stewart – the AgriScot Scotch Beef Farm of the Year 2017 – was placed second also with a sample of 30.5DM, 11.6ME and 15.2CP cut by Robert Fleming and family on May 22, 2018.

Commenting on his winning sample, Jamie said: “We changed how we make our silage in the last few years, now focussing on cutting earlier and more often. We also make silage from younger grass leys.

“I also think that doing the work ourselves helps as we have complete control of when we carry out each operation.”

The sole finalist from south of the Border, a sample submitted by Lillburn Estates Farm Manager, Dominic Naylor, was placed third in this section.

The dairy clamp silage section received the largest number of entries this year, with a total of 38 analysis reports submitted to competition convenor, Andrew Best of sponsor, Watson Seeds.

First place in this section was awarded to J Kerr and Sons of Kirkland’s farm, Carnwath. Cut on May 18, the earliest cut of all finalists, this sample analysed at 37.5 dry matter, 12.9ME and 14.9CP.

The second and third placed silages in the dairy section were both produced on certified organic farms. The blue ticket was awarded to, a 40 dry matter, 12.6ME, 15.5CP silage from Rob and Andrena Shanks, organic unit, Queenscairn, Stichill, Kelso with third place going home to Torr Organics Dairy, Castle Douglas.

The big bale silage class attracted some top-quality entries, with the latest cut – August 22 – entered by Graeme Mather, Shandford, Brechin coming out on top. This red ticket winner had an analysis of 64.8DM, 12.1ME and 14.7CP.

Second place big bale silage was awarded to Balbrinie Home Farms, Freuchie, Fife, where farm manager David Aglen had produced bales analysing at 54.5DM, 11.7ME and 12.3CP. Third place was awarded to Ian Galloway.

A special section for silage produced by a young farmer, under 26-years-old, saw Robin Campbell of Cally Mains, Castle Douglas take first place, with Norman Millar of Nether Mains, Chirnside take second with a silage analysing at 30.5DM, 12.1ME and 14.6CP. Craig Marshall from Auchleck Farm, Castle Douglas, was third.