The improved weather over the past few weeks will have been warmly welcomed by livestock farmers for many reasons, not least because grass growth has finally started to take off.
The challenge of dealing with a very difficult early spring period, however, still remains. Prolonged wet weather resulted in late turn-out on many farms and, on units where grazing was attempted, many paddocks were poached and swards were not cleanly grazed.
Both uneven grazing and poaching present problems for efficient grassland management. The poached paddocks take longer to recover, and because they haven’t been tightly grazed, the re-growth will be stemmy and harder to graze down to an optimum level next time around. Late turn-out may also have created challenges as swards were at a more advanced stage than usual when grazing commenced, with grass growth getting ahead of intake.
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.
Not only will this provide a useful buffer of extra silage next winter, the paddocks which have been cut will re-grow quickly and deliver a quality grazing boost within two to three weeks.
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 pierce 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, make sure you invest in the optimum product. Good quality baling material will make all the difference. Our high performance range of Farmer’s products are tough and reliable, offering peace of mind throughout the winter months - ensuring that ‘we’ve got it covered!’