level ii agricultural business operations. good quality silage is a key factor in profitable milk...

Download Level II Agricultural Business Operations. Good quality silage is a key factor in profitable milk production  Silage Production  Silage Assessment

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  • Level II Agricultural Business Operations

  • Good quality silage is a key factor inprofitable milk productionSilage ProductionSilage Assessment

  • Dry Matter (DM)Metabolisable Energy (ME)Crude Protein (CP)Fermentation (acidity level pH and ammonia level NH3)

  • Dry Matter is the feed remaining after all the water has been taken outDependent on weather and degree of wiltingIdeally 25-30% Grass wilted over 30 % is more difficult to consolidateMore prone to spoilage by yeasts and moulds

  • ME measures the energy content of silage in MJ/kg DM

    Very high>12 High 11.5 11.9Moderate10.5 11.4Low

  • CP measures the protein content of silage as a percentage of DM

    Very high14% High 12 14%Moderate10 12%Low

  • pH of between 3.8 and 4.2 Ammonia (% of total Nitrogen) less than 10 is desirable Good fermentation is needed to ensure the stable conversion of ensiled grass to silagePoor fermentation produces silage unpalatable to stock

  • Sward typeNitrogen applicationStage of growthWeather & grass DMChop lengthAdditivesSilo filling & sealing technique

  • Perennial Ryegrass swards will produce better quality and higher D-value silage than old swardsHeading date of grasses in sward will have effect on quality and D-value (early/intermediate/late)Newly reseeded swards generally produce higher quality silage

  • Rule of thumb allow a day for every 1kg/day (2 units) of N to grow out of grassAllow for both slurry and fertiliser NGrass analysis indicates the potential ensilability and fermentation of crop

  • Yield increases rapidly from mid April to late June

    Quality decreases rapidly from mid May to mid June

    The stage of growth at which crop is cut will have more influence on feeding value of silage than any other factor under the farmers control

  • 3. Stage of GrowthHigh ME Silage

  • 3. Stage of GrowthLow ME Silage

  • High DM silage is weather dependent Aim to harvest at 25 30 % DMRapid wilting preferable (24-30 hours)Reduces effluent

  • High DM (>30% DM) is better chopped short approx 25mm (1 inch) allows for better consolidationLower DM (
  • Aid to make good silageInoculants are the main typeInoculants contain one or more lactic acid bacteria and promote efficient fermentationAcid additives no longer commonly used

  • 50mm drainage pipe600mm125 mmGrass placed on top by hand0.125mm polythene

  • Clean pit thoroughly

    Hang plastic side sheet to ensure good seal

    Spread grass over pit evenly in shallow layers 150 225 mm (6 9 inches)

    Roll continuously

    Rapid filling is best

  • Silage effluent is highly pollutant and must be collectedIf stored with cattle slurry, extreme care must be taken when mixing due to increased risk of gaseous emissions Tanks must be checked regularly to prevent overflow and leakage

  • Same principles apply as with pit silageBales should be dense and compactWrap as soon as possible after baling4 - 6 layers of plastic film

  • Wrap at the stacking area if possibleAvoid excessive handlingStore bales immediately after wrappingStorage in line with NIEA regulationsEffluent must be collected from bales stored on concrete etc.Protect against vermin damage

  • Calculating available silage is the first step in winter feed planningAssess silage in storeAssess silage requiredCarry out a balance

  • Silo length Silo widthAverage silo heightCalculate volume (length x width x height)

  • 10.6 m3.3 m22.8mVolume = 10.6 X 3.3 X 22.8798 cubic metres(@ 20%DM)

  • Silage Dry MatterSilage Density Multiply volume byGrass silage 18%0.81 20%0.77 25%0.68 30%0.60

  • 10.6 m3.3 m22.8mVolume = 10.6 X 3.3 X 22.8798 cubic metres798 X 0.77 = 614 t

  • PitLengthWidthHeight1st22.810.63.32nd18.99.12.1

  • AnimalNo.Silage required (t/cow/mth)No mthsTotal (t)Milk cow601.56540Dry cow201.26144

    In Calf101.2672Maiden16Total required (t)756

  • Assess silage available against silage required

    Available silage = 892 tonnesRequired silage = 756 tonnes

    In this example 136 t of silage is surplus to requirement

  • Aim to make high quality silageEnsure correct fertiliser application Consider grass analysis pre-cuttingChoose suitable cutting stage and weatherConsider rapid wiltCollect and handle effluent safelyCalculate quantity of silage

    *Soils and NMP planning will have been covered in previous weeks***Most important point is that expelling air from the pit is critical to good fermentation. Too long in the field means that respiration continues for too long and sugars are lost.*Only a rule of thumb!Best method is the ensilability analysisConsider growing conditions and previous slurry or fert applications!*****Double sheetSide sheets spread in and covered with new top sheetCovered with weights (tyres)Sandbags or sausage bags along joints*


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