Silage Management - Targeting high quality silage

Input costs are high this year and this has put a focus on good quality silage for two reasons. Firstly, having good quality silage can reduce the amount of expensive purchased feed you need to buy. Secondly, the cost of making silage is higher than normal (estimated at £39/bale) and it costs as much to make poor silage as it does to make good silage!

Attention to detail at every stage is required to make high quality silage.  Here are the important things to consider:

1. Fertiliser & Manures: Applying the right amount of N, P and K is important, particularly to achieve a good yield of silage.  This doesn’t need to all come from a bag as slurries and manures are excellent sources of these nutrients.  If you aren’t already, this is definitely the year to start having slurry analysed and a fertiliser recommendation provided by a FACTS qualified advisor. This will allow you to keep the bagged fertiliser to a minimum without impacting on quality or yield.

2. Cutting Date: As the grass begins to bulk up and the amount of silage increases, quality starts to drop, and this happens quickly once grass starts to head.

3. Wilting Time: Fast wilting is important for silage quality, ideally less than 24 hours (unless there is a lot of clover in which case aim for less than 48 hours).

4. Clamp / Bale Management: The key to reducing the wastage of silage is to squeeze out as much air as possible.  When filling a clamp you fill it evenly and roll every 15 cm (6”).

For more information about making good quality silage contact the Farm Advisory Service advice line on 0300 323 0161 / or visit our website and read our article on Maximizing Silage Quality


*This article contains sponsored content and does not necessarily represent the views of The Scottish Farmer.​​