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News details

6
mar
2017

Silage Grass & Alfalfa Wholecrop Bi-crops Beans & pulses

Tips for creating quality silage @Harvest

Tips for creating quality silage @Harvest
  • Check nitrogen level of the crop prior to harvest. Nitrate is taken up by the grass during its growth. Climate conditions may lead to nitrogen being stored in the plant and not fully used before the grass is cut for ensiling. Nitrogen has a high buffering capacity, which stops the pH from decreasing during fermentation. If nitrate levels are too high, it can significantly restrict the fermentation process.

 

  • Ensure the appropriate Dry Matter (DM) is reached. It is recommended that alfalfa and legumes are harvested at 30% DM. For wholecrop, the optimal DM is between 35 – 45%. DM is a key parameters when ensiling which also define the degree of compaction needed. Wilting process should be considered if DM is too low.

 

  • Monitor the variance in maturity across fields and plan harvesting accordingly. Maturity can vary greatly between different fields or field zones. When ensiling, it is the average DM that counts.

 

  • Inspect weather forecast during your harvest window to ensure optimum quality forage for ensiling.

 

  • If you work with contractors, communicate with them regularly about specific harvest date(s) and field conditions.

 

  • Chop your forage at the appropriate length. If the chop length is too short, there is a higher of risk soil contamination. The average recommended chop length is about 2 cm.