The focus on many farms for the last number of weeks was to get first-cut silage cut and into pits, with contractors coming under sever pressure to harvest crops before the weather broke; it is now time to focus on second-cut silage.

With the good weather holding over the last number of weeks, the majority of farmers have now gotten their first-cut silage harvested.

Although for many farms, the harvest was later than they would have liked. For the most part, reports suggest that farmers are happy with the condition and quality of the harvested crops.

Second-cut silage: a change in focus

The focus on farms has now changed to growing a second crop of silage.

If you are aiming to achieve a second-cut harvest of 3t DM/ha² here is an outline of the fertiliser required:

Grass yield (t/DM/ha)²N/kg/ha
P kg/ha
K kg/ha
S kg/ha
3t DM (6t/ac fresh grass)75 (60)12 (10)75 (60)12 (10)
Table source: Teagasc

In terms of options to fertilise a second-cut grass silage crop, with no slurry being applied, Teagasc recommends 3 bags/ac 15-3-20 and 0.4 bag/ac ProUrea +S.

In a situation were you do have slurry to spread, Teagasc recommends 2,000g/ac and 1.2 bags/ac of ProUrea +S.

Slurry safety

With the late spring and poor weather experienced in many parts of the country, animals were housed a lot more during March and April, so most farmers have a considerable amount of slurry still in yards.

The time of slurry being considered a waste product is long over and now is the time to apply this slurry, before the grass covers get too strong.

It is important not to forget safety around slurry, particularly when agitating slurry that may have been sitting in a tank for a number of months undisturbed.

Safe agitation guidelines from the HSA:

  • Agitate on windy days;
  • Remove all livestock and control pets;
  • Open all doors and control access;
  • Agitate/ventilate and stay away for 30 minutes;
  • Work upwind at all times;
  • Do not enter tanks – even when empty;
  • Keep tank openings secure at all times;
  • If possible, avoid agitating alone.