The quality of the silage is dependent on the quality of the grass. If you manage the silage processing well, you’ll get good quality silage.
The process of making silage is more of science; as a result, there are steps that you should follow to maximize the yield. Ensure you have chosen the right grass variety and manage everything well such that the quality won’t be compromised. Fortunately, with silage, the feeding costs usually reduce significantly.
Some of the things that you should understand about silage processing include:
1. The Quality of the Grass Matters
Ensure you’ve selected the right breed. There should be a balance between quality and yield. Some of the suitable options include Rye-grass. When combined with clover, the yields will be boosted and the protein capacity. The amount of fertilizer needed will also reduce significantly.
2. Nutrition Matters
Low nutrient levels and pH will lead to low grass quality, and the yields will reduce. To avoid such issues, you should take soil samples. Ensure you’ve also accounted for the manure being produced by the livestock.
3. Pasture Management Matters
If there are weeds, the yields will decrease significantly. As a result, you should assess everything during spring. If need be, you should apply herbicides. The silage can be contaminated by Molehills which can also cause irreparable damage to the machinery. Ensure the moles are kept under control. During Spring, you should also bury all the stones on the farm. During winter, the grass may die. You should rake it during Spring since that is dead matter.
The timing also matters. As a farmer, you have control over such a factor. For instance, you can cut the silage in May, which means the protein content will be low; however, the yields will be higher. A few weeks later, the yields will rise again, but the protein content will go down further. In this case, we learn more about assessing the silage needs and cutting accordingly.
You should also keep in mind the harvesting techniques you use matter. Before harvesting, you should prepare everything well. For instance, the equipment should be well-maintained such that costly breakdowns can be avoided. Ensure you’ve assessed all your farm needs, including handling capacity and labor availability, such that you can easily manage the silage quality.
The Difference Between Good and Bad Silage
Good quality silage has a light brown color. It also has a sweet scent, and it can be stored for many years. The moisture content is low, and the carbohydrate levels are high. There is also a balance between digestibility and yield. The higher-yielding crops are of low quality, and they’re more stemmy.
The first cuts usually have significant amounts of energy. The cuts that come about later contain more fiber. Nevertheless, if a crop is dry, it cannot be compacted easily, and the sugar content will also be low, which means the spoilage and fermentation process will be poor.
Bad quality silage is more of a wastage of resources since the cows won’t consume it. If the cows consume it, they will become sick, and you’ll spend a significant amount of money treating them.