As the silage season approaches, dairy and beef farmer Eddie Mackey is focused on making quality silage while minimising any waste.

Farming with his father in Mooncoin, Co. Kilkenny, Eddie is intent on getting the most from his silage land in order to maximise the amount of fodder available for winter feeding.

Speaking about this, Eddie said: “For me it’s all about preventing any spoilage of my silage. As a result, I’ve been able to minimise the cost of feed supplementation and I have less labour costs.’’

“I also have peace of mind in that I know when I peel back the cover, I’m confident I’ll have good silage there to feed out.”

Making quality silage on-farm is a really important target for farmers all around the country, as poor preservation adds significantly to the costly job of silage making.

Dairy and beef farmer Eddie Mackey

Good-quality fodder will determine animal performance during the housed period and will reduce the cost of supplementation.

Teagasc research shows that poorly preserved silage can lose up to 5% units of dry matter digestibility (DMD); resulting in reductions in milk by approx. 1.5L/day and an increase of €70 in the cost of finishing. An expensive mistake for any farmer.

Having sprayed off weeds over two weeks ago, the Mackeys are now hoping for the good weather conditions to allow them to mow their first cut in about three weeks.

Working with a trusted local contractor, the Mackeys always aim to cut in the afternoon and allow 24 hours to wilt in order to increase the dry matter (DM) content of their silage.

Over the last four years, Eddie has become a steadfast believer in using quality silage covers in order to preserve his feed. Since then, he has been using both an Underlayer Silage Film and Hermetix Heavy Duty Silage Cover from Glanbia Ireland – and hasn’t looked back.

“In my opinion, the extra cost spent on covers has been more than worth the investment. What it has gained me has more than paid off. I have less waste and I’m saving on labour costs to clean off the pit.”

Speaking specifically about the Underlayer Silage Film, Eddie said: “The underlayer to put it simply, acts like clingfilm on your lunch. It seals out any of the air and it stops the top layer of silage going off so you have no wastage.’’

“When you open the pit, the top layer of silage is perfect and there’s no labour involved in cleaning off spoiled silage. It more than pays for itself.”

The Hermetix silage cover is a very flexible, hole resistant cover with an oxygen barrier. Its double-black layer ensures better preservation and faster fermentation of the pit.

For more information, speak to your local Glanbia Ireland representative, visit your local Glanbia Ireland branch or go online.

Glanbia Ireland’s Great Grass ‘Make Quality Silage’ initiative

Glanbia Ireland want to help farmers “Make Great Quality Silage” by providing advice on silage making in three different stages (below) and recommended products for each step.

quality silage

Farmers can contact their local Glanbia Ireland representative, or download the programme brochure here.

Win a Silage Survival Pack

Glanbia Ireland want to get you and a friend prepared for the silage season with a ‘Silage Survival Pack’ which is full of Avonmore Protein Milk, Optimum Nutrition Protein Powder, GAIN hats and Jacket and Kilmeaden Snack Cheese.

Check out Glanbia’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages for more information.