Silage is an excellent way to assist in cleaning paddocks from weed seeds when non-desired species have gone to head. It also a great way to conserve feed which may otherwise lose quality and become rank. You can grow crops specifically for silage or make silage from pasture where there is a surplus of feed that you cannot graze. Here are our top ways to get the most value out of your silage.
- Trash in equals trash out. Silage will be used for feeding stock, so makes sure you’re making silage out of fodder you would be happy to feed to your animals to maintain the required production levels.
- Aim for an optimum sugar levels by harvesting at the appropriate time. The more mature the pasture the less sugars. NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) suggests the optimum growth stage at harvest as shown below.
- Manage soil and plant fertility carefully and manipulate nutrients 6 weeks prior to cutting.
- Monitor moisture content. Harvest after the dew has lifted, but not during hot, dry parts of the day.
- Wrap adequately. Fermentation will be hindered if oxygen is available. If holes appear, patch them quickly, using the correct type of tape.
- Consider inoculants, particularly if what you are bailing is of poor quality or conditions at bailing are poor.
- Arrange feed tests on your silage to help you to benchmark the quality of feed you are producing and manage your feed budget.