Reducing the risk of silage losses
Even though silage ground is being closed much later than usual on most farms, the crop will still head out close to the usual time.
Deferring the cutting date too far beyond the usual cutting time may result in additional and unnecessary expense for farmers.
Once grass silage fields go past the middle of May, they lose an average of three DMD (dry matter digestibility) units per week; this loss increases to six DMD units in poor weather or lodged crops.
In light of the current fodder situation, many farmers may be tempted to put the focus back on making bulk versus quality silage this year.
However, the difference between good and bad silage quality can mean the requirement of 2-3kg of extra ration per animal each day.
Quality silage starts with quality grass cut at the correct growth stage to optimise digestibility and yield. A fast, cool fermentation is crucial in order to preserve the quality of grass being ensiled and minimise losses from heat and dry matter.
It is important to remember that this is lost energy that would otherwise be utilised by the animal at feed out, leading to greater production and feed efficiency.
Agritech’s sales director John Kenny explained: “The aim of preservation is to retain silage quality as close as possible to the grass being harvested and avoid unnecessary ensiling losses.
“Having spoken to many Irish farmers across the country, it is evident that there is a renewed interest in quality silage and additive usage.”
While much debate has taken place over the role and value of silage additives, research has proven that there are substantial benefits from applying an appropriate additive.
A good silage additive will reduce oxygen and increase acidity rapidly, so that lactic acid bacteria grow to stabilise and preserve the forage to its full potential.
Agritech’s GrasZyme SugarBoost forage additive has long proven itself as an effective silage preservation aid.
The technology used in the additive has been scientifically proven to reduce unnecessary plant breakdown and ensure reliability even in difficult low-sugar conditions.
Independent trials have shown that in a 500t clamp, GrasZyme Sugarboost retains an extra 30t of silage. In addition, a reduction in ensiling dry matter losses of 6.1% were also reported from these trials.
Improved animal performance
GrasZyme Sugarboost has been developed with accelerated fermentation and animal performance as the primary focus, which is dependent on effective grass preservation.
GrasZyme Sugarboost has a proven track record in achieving this. It has undergone numerous trials on dairy and beef farms throughout Ireland and the UK, which have shown daily milk yield increases of 1L, a 0.09% increase in milk protein and 110g of extra daily live weight gain.
“The ultimate aim from the use of an additive is to enhance animal performance; deliver more milk and live weight gain at feed out; and increase farm profitability,” John added.