AGRISCOT’S annual silage competition is now looking for the best of Scotland's silage growers in what many reckon has been a bumper year.

Farmers are being urged to have their bales and pits sampled and analysed for the upcoming contest. Competition organiser, Andrew Best, from sponsor Watson Seeds, commented: “Record grass yields over the past few months mean many farm silage pits and bale stacks are full to overflowing. This is of course, in sharp contrast to 2018, when the summer drought led to poor grass growth in many areas.

“I would encourage all dairy, beef and sheep farmers to have their 2019 silage analysed. It is an unfortunate fact that quantity can sometimes dilute quality, especially when we have had such rapid growth rates and heavy wet crops to contend with,” he explained. “In such circumstances, it is important to know exactly what livestock nutrition can be provided from silage stocks.”

Reports gathered by farmers will then be ranked by SRUC’s Hugh McClymont, with the top silage producers being invited to provide live samples from their pit or bales for the final analysis on the day of AgriScot, with top prizes worth over £5000 up for grabs.

The chairman, Robert Neill, explained more about how the competition fits within the overall event. “AgriScot is attended by a great many livestock farmers and, indeed, contractors, for whom quality silage production is hugely important. We are always looking to showcase best practice at AgriScot and rewarding the fruits of successful silage making is part of that overall aim.

“The commentary around the live analysis, in our main ring, with judge Hugh McClymont has proven to be a great attraction at the past couple of AgriScots. Even more so last year when Hugh was joined by guest judge Jimmy Warnock with his request for ketchup to help with his silage tasting!”

Mr Warnock will once again join Mr McClymont as a guest judge for the competition.

The competition itself has individual classes for dairy and beef/sheep clamp silages, and also big bale silage. Entries can be from any cut of silage and there will also be a special young farmers class for producers under 26 years of age to enter any pit silage, which was won last year by Robin Campbell of Cally Mains, Castle Douglas.

Last year's competition saw Jamie McIntyre, Milton of Cullerlie, Aberdeenshire take the top prize in the beef and sheep clamp silage category, while the dairy section was led by J Kerr and Sons of Kirkland’s farm, Carnwath. The big bale silage class was won by Graeme Mather, of Shandford, Brechin.