Mole Valley Farmers has launched a Soil-to-Silage service with the aim of helping livestock farmers get the most nutritional value from their grassland.

The Soil-to-Silage is available to Mole Valley Farmers members, shareholders and customers, and uses the knowledge of its agronomy and animal nutrition teams.

The 360O service uses a system approach to record grassland inputs and quality and is focused on the journey from soil to silage.

The service includes:

  • Soil health advice and environmental management;
  • Regular crop inspections to assess the performance of the grassland and forage crops, as well as monitoring for pests, weeds and disease;
  • Nutrition management, understanding what nutrition is readily available on farm;
  • Harvest management- using feedback on previous year’s data so that harvest can be fine-tuned to optimise yields and quality to optimise the feed value;
  • Understanding the nutritional value of the crop and its part in the diet;
  • Identifying low-yielding fields and outlining how improvements can be made;
  • Crop costings.

The service aims to help farmers maximise their yield/ha from their grassland and that the crop offers optimum energy and protein yield/ha for the animal.

Head of grassland and forage agronomy at Mole Valley Farmers, Lisa Hambly, said: “What we grow in the field has to provide the best nutritional outcome for the animal. We can only fully understand that by looking at the whole farming system.

“This service not only helps address imbalances in the soil and targets crop nutrition, but it also looks at how the silage in the clamp feeds out and where changes can be made.

“Mole Valley Farmers is involved throughout the whole process, with specialist systems behind us to support every step.”


The service helps farmers determine crop yields and quality through Omega Crop software.

Grass growth crop modelling, together with weather and satellite data, are used to predict current grass covers and quality and can forecast growth without walking fields and measuring by hand.

Data from Omega Crop can then be used to target correct grazing dates and identify fields that aren’t performing.

This allows further investigative work to take place to determine the problem and then work towards a solution to correct those lower yields, Mole Valley Farmers said.

To determine the correct nutrients for the grassland, the organisation has a dedicated Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) specifically for livestock farms with the aim of targeting grassland nutrients, boosting productivity and maximising profitability.

This provides farmers with information on current soil nutrition using soil samples, the nutrient requirements of different crops required to grow specific yields and the nutrients available on the farm already from slurry and farmyard manure (FYM)- using up-to-date samples.

“Often the focus is on producing the best crop but isn’t linked to how well that crop feeds the animals, which is fundamentally important,” Hambly said.

“This service will factor in data such as daily live weight gains and days to slaughter to determine how well the grass performs.

“We will also analyse slurry to check key elements, such as the level of nitrogen, to give us an understanding of how well the diet is being utilised and how we can fine tune it.

“We want to help farmers make continuous improvements in their business, and this holistic service is a key element of that, using science and technology to maximise growth and productivity across the entire farming enterprise.”