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Thinking Of Moving To Multi-Cut Silage Next Year?

Multi-cut silage

Thinking of moving to multi-cut silage next year?

"If so, then don't forget grass nutrition", urges Grassland Consultant Dr George Fisher. “Many grassland farmers are considering a switch to multi-cut systems to improve silage quality and milk production, but it is vital to forward plan the operation and include a rethink of grass nutrition” he explains.

The benefits:

  • Higher quality forage
    (increased ME and protein)
  • Reduced wilting times
  • Increased milk solids output
  • Reduced reliance on bought-in feeds

The challenges:

  • Additional contracting charges
  • Increased soil compaction
  • Less time for slurry incorporation between cuts
  • Variable weather conditions
  • Impact on fertiliser plan:

    • Replan to ensure the grass has sufficient nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulphur.

    Dr Fisher advises

    “Moving from a two to three to a four to five cut system will give lower yields per cut, but will increase yields per hectare. Therefore the grass nutrition plan will need to reflect this change”.

    Dr Fisher's nutrition tips

    • The usual grass nitrogen uptake rate of 2.5kg N/ha per day (two units N/acre per day) still applies and this includes nitrogen from slurry as well as bagged fertiliser.
    • With less time between cuts for slurry to be incorporated into the soil, multi-cut systems are best served by a reduced slurry application rate which is applied by injection or band spreading, rather than splash plating.
    • Ensure there is up to date soil analysis for the multi-cut fi elds, so that suffi cient phosphate (P) and potash (K) can be supplied.
    • Lime to optimum soil pH, as low soil pH will severely restrict nutrient availability and grass yield.
    • Sulphur is critical, as all light/medium grassland soils (and some heaver soils) respond to sulphur applications with increased yields and grass quality. Leaving sulphur out of the nutrient plan is counterproductive to any multi-cut system!

For more information and advice on multi-cut silage please contact the fertiliser team on 01769 576405 #MVFHotTopics

Source Details

 newsletter 651

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