Arrabawn | Silage – worth minding!
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Silage – worth minding!

With the typical 80 cow dairy herd requiring approximately 1000 tonnes silage for a 5 month winter, silage making should be taken seriously. It’s expensive to produce and losses need to be kept to a minimum – it is very disheartening to see the amount of waste which accumulates under the silage cover and on the sides and shoulders of the silage clamp.

On the waste front – bad silage is a problem – apart from the obvious waste, badly preserved silage is a health hazard, containing really bad bacteria which can seriously affect cows in calf. With the common use of feeder/mixer wagons, much of this waste is ‘disposed’ of by feeding to livestock – not really the answer!

Minimising this loss – (up to €1000 waste in the average pit!)?

Have good clean grass. Allow time for slurry to be well washed in, avoiding contamination. Observe an adequate period since the last fertiliser application.

ensile the grass properly, excluding air from the pit through thorough rolling and compaction. Eliminating air from the grass is key to good preservation – allowing the anaerobic bacteria to produce lactic acid from the sugars in the grass, this lactic acid is your silage preservative!

use an effective silage cover. There are differences in silage covers, often influenced by the type of materials used in their manufacture. Use a good quality silage cover – check the spec! There have been significant developments in the silage cover world with the use of covers made from ‘virgin’ (not recycled!) material, leading to improved ‘oxygen barriers’- which is key to good preservation.

This year Arrabawn is stocking the ‘improved oxygen barrier’ silage covers, using ‘Virgin’ plastic, which should significantly improve preservation and reduce the amount of waste in the surface layers of the silage pit.

– sprinkle ‘SilaSave’ on top of the silage before covering. This will mop up any stray oxygen under the cover, minimising that layer of rotten silage under the cover. This layer of rotten silage can often be the source of very harmful bacteria – harmful to stock and the farmer!

Don’t be ‘cent wise and euro foolish – do the job right!

Silasave is on promotion until the end of June 2019 – 3 for €120 a saving of €27.

For further information, contact your local branch of Arrabawn Co-op