Second-cut silage programme to maximise yields and quality

Learning from the 2018 fodder shortages, Glanbia Ireland has developed a second-cut silage programme to help farmers maximise their fodder reserves for this coming winter.

There are many fertiliser products available to farmers for use on second-cut silage. Glanbia has also developed a calculator which will enable farmers to grow the best possible crop of grass for each individual field.

It will ensure the farmer can balance the specific nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) requirements for each field, taking into consideration the off-take from first and second-cut silage.

It is important to note that 90% of silage ground is deficient in either lime, P or K. Two cuts of silage takes off over 30 units of P and 180 units of potash which needs to be replaced.

It was especially difficult to get these levels out this year with challenges in slurry application. If P or K are deficient, nitrogen efficiency can be less than 50%.

When deciding what type and quantity of fertiliser to apply, make sure to examine your latest soil sample results and allow for the following:

  • Crop P & K off take;
  • Slurry quantity applied / P and K already applied;
  • Sulphur required and sulphur already applied;
  • Estimated second-cut silage closed time and quantity of N to be applied.

What fertiliser should I use for my second cut and how much should I apply?

A crop of second-cut silage – i.e. 5t/ha (dry matter) – will remove up to 20kg/ha of P and 125kg/ha of K.

To grow a crop of second-cut silage, you will require the above levels of P & K (unless Index 4) and also 80-100kg/ha of N and 8-16kg/ha of sulphur (S).

If pH is low, lime should be applied; either grow lime or granulated lime should be used.

More information

To find out more about the second-cut silage programme, please contact your local Glanbia business manager or just click here

The silage fertiliser calculator can be accessed by clicking here and to view the second-cut silage planning programme, just click here