Second cut silage – dodge the showers

Steven McKay cutting silage at the Dark Hedges Armoy. PICTURE PATSY O BRIEN/MCAULEY MULTIMEDIA
Steven McKay cutting silage at the Dark Hedges Armoy. PICTURE PATSY O BRIEN/MCAULEY MULTIMEDIA

First cut silage was an either-or-experience. Either cut very early to catch the good weather at the start of May or wait for the unsettled spell in the second half of May to clear, and cut late.

This has had a knock-on effect with second cut crops, with a lot of grass still to be harvested. The warm, damp weather of recent weeks has seen strong grass growth with many paddocks getting ahead of the cattle.

Farmers facing such a situation should consider baling several stemmier paddocks as this removes grass which is past optimum grazing quality but which will make excellent silage. This is proving to be a flexible management tool on many efficient farms, avoiding waste while optimising quality.

Baled silage is an excellent quality product, but a punctured or mishandled bale will spoil. Avoid this pitfall by ensuring the yard is clean and free from sharp objects which could impair a bale. Also check that the bale handling equipment has no rough or sharp edges and at all times take care when handling the wrapped product.

Finally, irrespective of whether you are baling, or making silage conventionally, make sure you invest in the optimum product. Good quality baling material and silo covers will make all the difference. Big Bale Solutions’ high performance range of farmers’ products are reliable, offering peace of mind throughout the winter months - ensuring that ‘we’ve got it covered!’