The old saying ‘a wet and windy May fills the haggard with corn and hay’ is providing little consolation to farmers who have heavy first-cuts of silage waiting to be cut and ensiled.

The first two weekends of May saw spells of dry, sunny weather in many parts of the country and as a result, some farmers moved to secure cuts of quality silage slightly earlier than usual.

However, broken weather has prevailed since then with scattered showers of rainfall across the country making it very tricky to get a dry cut of silage secured over the past 10 days.

By now, first cuts of silage that were stopped early in the spring have good, heavy covers and are well-fit for cutting.

Drier conditions are forecast to take hold over the country from tomorrow (Friday, May 27) and the hope is that this should offer a good opportunity to secure a cut of pit or bale silage.

Farmers who are unsure if the nitrogen levels in their grass is low enough to cut can contact their local farm-advisory office and bring a sample of grass to be tested for sugars and nitrogen.

Ground conditions are good on drier soils despite recent rainfall, however heavier-type soils are a different story and a few dry days may be needed before moving in with heavy silage equipment.

The first of June is less than a week away and as grass starts to head out, silage quality begins to deteriorate.

Where ground conditions are workable and silage crops are ready for cutting, contact should be made with the silage contractor as far in advance of the intended cutting date as possible, in order to give them as much notice to plan a cutting day as possible.

Aiming for ‘the perfect silage’ can often be wishful thinking when dealing with the weather conditions experienced over the past week.

Despite this, attention should still be paid to what the weather forecast is indicating.

When there is a window of dry-weather forecast and ground conditions are workable, provided the contractor is available, it’s a case of hoping the rain holds off and the grass comes in dry.