Our guide to making top quality silage


In agriculture, the production of quality silage is an integral part of ensuring your livestock are healthy and well-fed, particularly during winter. As a farmer, your aim should be to create silage that is high in nutritional value, aiding the productivity and efficiency of your farm. This blog post will guide you through the process of making top-quality silage.

When you delve into the realm of silage production, the concept of quality isn’t just a preference – it’s an absolute necessity. Why? Well, the simple answer is that top-notch silage offers a cost-effective, nutrient-rich dietary solution for your livestock. It’s an investment that propels your animals towards better health, which translates to improved meat and milk production. It’s a win-win situation where the livestock benefit from superior nutrition, and you gain from their enhanced productivity.
On the flip side, if the silage quality takes a dive, it can spell trouble for your livestock’s health and productivity, leading to a dent in your profits.
In short, quality silage is the silent hero that ensures a thriving, cost-effective farm operation. This is why understanding and implementing best practices in silage production are key to your farming success.

When is the right time to cut grass for silage?

Harvesting your silage at just the right moment can feel a bit like playing a game of precision and patience. The golden rule is to cut the grass at that sweet spot of growth – when it’s adequately dried yet not over-matured. This ideal phase serves up the perfect fusion of high yield and nutritional value. It’s about striking a balance.
However, the weather also has a significant part to play. It can either be your ally or your nemesis when it comes to silage harvesting. It’s a smart move to sidestep rainy days, as moisture can be the unwelcome guest that dilutes the nutrient density of your silage. So, mark your calendar with weather updates and keep an eye on your grass. After all, it’s your valuable raw material for producing that nutritious silage. Time it right, and you will reap the benefits of your patience in the form of quality feed for your livestock. This, in turn, fuels your farm’s productivity – a perfect example of time well spent.

Why it’s important to get the grass chop length right at silaging.

Delving into the technicalities of silage making, we encounter the stage of chopping and compacting – an indispensable process that paves the way for optimum fermentation and conservation of nutrients. Picture this: slicing your silage to the ideal size of about 15mm. This is akin to the perfect bite-size pieces that not only taste better but also digest better. That’s precisely what you’re doing for your silage. By cutting it to the right size, you are setting the stage for enhanced fermentation.
Here’s why. The perfect chop length allows the silage to be tightly compacted in your clamp, creating an environment where oxygen is scarce. This scenario is what you’re aiming for since an oxygen-free zone is the playground where the magic of effective fermentation happens.
So, sharpen those blades and get chopping. Embrace compacting and enjoy the satisfying sight of the silage settling snugly into the clamp. You’ll appreciate the rewards of your meticulous work when you see your livestock thrive on the nutritious, high-quality silage you’ve produced.

How to seal grass silage to retain the quality?

The process of silage making doesn’t end with chopping and compacting. There’s still a vital step left, and that’s sealing. After filling your clamp with finely chopped, compacted silage, you must promptly cover it up, creating a seal that says a firm ‘no entry’ to oxygen.
Why the rush to seal, you might wonder? Here’s the thing: oxygen, while essential for us humans, can be a party crasher in the silage making process. It can meddle with the fermentation, fostering spoilage instead of preservation.
So, how do you create this effective seal? It’s simpler than you might think. Reach out for some good quality plastic sheeting (available through Massey Harpers) and tyres. Use them to wrap up your clamp snugly, like a protective blanket. Remember, this seal needs to be even across the pile, so even distribution of weight is key. This ensures thorough compaction, helping your silage maintain a nutrient-rich profile.
Sealing might seem like a minor step in the grand scheme of silage production. However, it plays a major role in safeguarding the quality of your silage, ultimately contributing to healthier, more productive livestock. So, don’t underestimate the power of a quick and effective seal. It’s your ticket to top-notch silage, ready to fuel your farm’s success.

Keeping an eye on grass silage quality.

Keeping an eye on your silage is the key to ensuring its quality remains top-notch. Get into the habit of noting down changes in temperature and moisture content, two factors that can tip you off about potential spoilage. It’s all about early detection, which can help nip any issues in the bud before they become a major headache.
Storage, too, plays a crucial role in preserving your silage. Think of it as the perfect winter coat for your silage, shielding it from harsh conditions. Your silage storage area should be dry, cool, and away from direct sunlight.
Silage needs careful handling. It’s about checking in on it regularly, being aware of changes, and taking swift action. It’s also about providing a proper storage area, one that keeps your silage snug and secure. Remember, your silage might be out of sight once it’s stored, but it should never be out of mind.

How to make the most of silage at feed out?

How do you go about incorporating this valuable dietary component into your animals’ daily intake? It’s a process that requires attention to detail and careful planning.
You should consider factors such as the type of animals you’re feeding, their specific nutritional needs, and other elements that constitute their diet. For instance, dairy cows require a different balance of nutrients compared to beef cattle or sheep, and it’s crucial to strike this balance to optimise the benefits of silage feeding.
Equally important is to avoid over-feeding or under-feeding. Overindulgence can lead to wastage and potential health issues, while under-feeding might result in insufficient nutrient intake.
Also, bear in mind that silage, whilst being highly nutritious, is not a standalone feed. It should be a part of a diverse diet that includes other feeds, offering a comprehensive nutritional intake.
By adeptly integrating silage into your livestock’s diet, you’re not only capitalising on its cost-efficiency but also helping your animals thrive on a nutrient-rich diet. It’s an exercise in balance and precision that contributes significantly towards the productivity and wellbeing of your livestock.

If you would like further details, please speak to your Feed Specialist.