Have you completed a winter fodder budget?

Completing a fodder budget will allow you to know exactly what you have and need. From this, farmers can make calculated decisions based on the results.

Some farmers were impacted by the drought in late May and into early June and this may have had a negative impact on the availability of winter feed supplies.

Reduced grass growth – at that time – may have impacted the overall quantity of feed harvested. However, since then, adequate rainfall has boosted grass growth, with supply outstripping demand once again.

This has led to farmers harvesting good crops of second-cut silage, while also resuming the need to harvest surplus bales from the grazing platform.

Saying that, now is the time to double check that there is enough winter feed on your holding to carry animals through the winter period – however long that may be.

Preparing for winter starts now; late July is the time farmers should start to focus on building autumn covers to allow the grazing season be extended for as long as possible.

To carry out a winter feed budget, the quantity of silage available in both pit and bales in the yard should be assessed.

To complete this process, the length, breadth and height of the silage pit needs to be measured accurately, while the number of silage bales present in the yard should be counted.

The next step in the process is to identify what animals will be kept on farm over the winter months and how long will they be housed.

Enter pit silage conserved

Animal type Number of stock kept over the winter Number stock over winter Number of months (include a 4-6 week reserve) Pit silage needed (t/animal/month) Silage
needed (t)
Dairy cows 1.6 0
Suckler Cows 1.4 0
0-1 year olds 0.7 0
1-2 year olds 1.3 0
2+ year olds 1.3 0
Ewes 0.15 0
Total silage needed 0

Enter pit silage conserved

Pit length (m) Pit width (m) Pit settled height (m) Silage in pit (t)

Enter bale silage quantity

Number of bales Yield/bale Bale yield (t)
1st and 2nd cut bales 0.8 0
Surplus bales 0.8 0
Total 0

Enter silage to be cut

Area (acres) Yield (t/acre) Total yield (t)
First cut 0
Second cut 0
Third cut 0
Total pit silage to be cut 0

Total silage surplus or deficit

Calculating total silage supplies Calculating silage surplus or deficit
Silage in pit (t) 0 Total silage supplies 0
Silage in bales (t) 0 Total silage demand 0
Pit silage to be cut (t) 0 Surplus/deficit (t) 0
Total silage supplies 0 % Surplus/deficit 0