Pied House Farm, Montgomery, Powys

Focus Site Project: The benefits of a multicut silage system

Project aim:

As the dairy industry looks to increase its yields and milk solid production through improved use of home grown forages the concept of multicut silage and clamp management is becoming a serious option for many Autumn and all year round producers.

The concept of multicut involves the careful monitoring of grass growth during the silaging period to ensure younger leafier grass is ensiled to achieve the highest Dry Matter, Metabolisable Energy and ‘D’ Values possible. Many new reseeds now include high sugar varieties with D values up to 80% with excellent yield potential. This also can be achieved with extra cuts of silage above the conventional 3 cuts per year with a period of grazing. Bought in feeds and growing more expensive forages such as Maize can be reduced if silage quality is optimised. Many herds on the continent which are housed indoors all year round use the multicut method and with many large high yielding herds in the UK now housing cows in all year round, the need for quality home grown forage has never been as important.

The aim of the project is to monitor the quality of the silage made with more cuts and the effect on milk yields, components, fertility and general health of the animal. These will be compared with the herds performance from the previous years. Practical implications will also be a focus of the project as clamp management is critical to the successful ensiling and utilisation of more frequently cut higher quality grass silage.

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