In the survey of 180 dairy farmers, over 40% have shortened their cutting intervals in the last three years. Of these, a significant majority (92%) reported either much better or slightly better grass silage quality as a result.
“The fact that the early adopters of multi–cut silage making are seeing an improvement in forage quality is entirely logical,” says Germinal’s Ben Wixey.
“Cutting grass earlier in the season and at shorter intervals will mean it is closer to optimum D–value at the point of ensiling and should therefore result in a higher feed value forage. We estimate that this could amount to as much as an extra 1MJ/kg of energy in many cases – so 12MJ/kg ME silage instead of 11ME – which sets the platform for increasing milk production from forage.”
Mr Wixey points out that to maximise the benefit of a multi–cut silage approach dairy farmers should be routinely reseeding their leys, using the best available varieties from the Recommended Grass and Clover Lists. It is also important to ensure all other elements of the silage making process are carried out with a ‘best practice’ mindset.
“The multi–cut system does involve higher costs, but the extra investment will pay dividends,” he says. “There will be no drop in production over the season and the additional feed energy in the clamp will lead to savings in bought–in feed and boost milk from forage.”