Don’t let this year’s weather impact your silage quality

Despite the wet weather so far this month, the cold nights and dry, sunny days experienced in many parts of the country through April, have meant much slower grass growth.

With first cut delayed on some farms to allow grass growth to catch up, this year, more than ever, silage inoculants can play a key role in helping to produce the best quality silage.

Pioneer’s seeds and inoculants manager, Andy Stainthorpe, explains further:

“With the slower grass growth seen this spring, nitrogen (N) applications may not have been fully utilised, producing grass with high N levels.

This can result in silage with high ammonia and butyric acid levels, leading to protein degradation, making it less palatable and depressing feed intakes.

“In extreme cases, ‘gassing off’ caused by excess levels of nitrous oxide can occur, and awareness of the risk that such gas poses to the safety of people working near to the clamp should always be considered.”

Current weather means ‘high levels of UV radiation’

“In addition to this, the relatively high levels of UV radiation and low night-time temperatures we’ve experienced, mean we expect to see low levels of naturally-occurring lactic acid bacteria, critical for making quality silage,” he added.

To counteract this, we recommend silage inoculants containing homofermentative bacteria to reduce the risk of butyric acid fermentation impacting silage quality, and preventing poor performance from forage.

“Silage inoculants have an important role to play whatever the weather conditions – they are not just an insurance policy if the weather is bad,” he continued.

silage

“The aim is always to produce rapidly, and well fermented silage with no yeast or mould content, and with a sufficiently high dry matter content.

This gives a better feed value and drives intakes, both of which are vital to the profitability of livestock businesses.

“Using the right inoculant in the right circumstances can see your forage quality reach new heights,” he concluded.