Silage making in uncertain conditions

Sam Little, Dairy Farmer, Poyntzpass and Conor Loughran, Genus ABS discussing preparation for silage harvest and the benefit of using Powerstart in current challenging weather conditions
Sam Little, Dairy Farmer, Poyntzpass and Conor Loughran, Genus ABS discussing preparation for silage harvest and the benefit of using Powerstart in current challenging weather conditions

Recent heavy showers and unsettled weather conditions have interrupted local silage making.

Farmers know that as the days move on grass quality will begin to fall and the challenge of making quality silage becomes all the more difficult. For this reason help will be required to preserve grass nutrients, and an effective silage inoculant must be considered too ensure best results.

Stephen Lavery, from Genus ABS, said: “I would encourage farmers to use an additive at all times irrespective of the weather conditions. A faster fermentation increases palatability and retains more protein and sugar in the pit, thus reducing the need for additional concentrate supplementation in the winter diet.”

Commenting further on silage making in wet weather conditions Stephen said that there are two key challenges - firstly soil contamination and secondly achieving a fast fermentation when sugars are low in the grass.

In addition to a poorer quality silage there is also the risk of listeria and abortions. Thus farmers need to take steps to avoid soil contamination and choose a silage additive that will be effective in wet weather conditions in order to avoid poor fermentation where the pH is not acidic enough.

One farmer who has “the proof of the pudding” regarding a silage additive is Sam Little who farms with this wife, Yvonne, and five children on the outskirts of Poyntzpass.

He has been using Powerstart silage additive for the past 15 years and has found it successful in all weather conditions. He does not rely on contractors but makes the silage himself, as a one man operation, and as he said “can go with the weather”.

He outlines his reason for using Powerstart.

“You need good quality silage for winter milk production. Powerstart is an essential ingredient for that goal providing good fermentation, more palatable, sweet smelling silage, there is less spoilage and the cows love it,” he said.

He emphasised: “Even in the current market conditions it would be penny wise and pound foolish to not use an additive. The better your silage the less meal you need to keep up the milk volume and quality in the tank.”

Powerstart silage additive contains a unique strain of Lactobacillus, Aber F1, which means it is able to make better use of all the sugars available in grass, thus resulting in a more efficient fermentation, bringing the pH down rapidly. This will not only prevent listeria from growing but will also preserve the nutrients in the grass more effectively. This ability to utilise all sugar strains is key to why Powerstart is also effective in challenging weather conditions.

Stephen concludes: “By making use of all the sugars in grass, less of the available sugar is used during the fermentation which means that there is more sugar in the resultant silage and available to the cow.

“Furthermore by accelerating the rate of fermentation the protein in the grass is preserved more effectively with a higher proportion of true protein and fewer free amino acids, something that will not show up on a silage analysis.”

For further details contact Stephen Lavery on 077 6805 8450 or your local Genus ABS representative.