Using silage analysis to plan your 2021 reseeding

Tuesday 10.11.2020 , events , news

Any thoughts of reseeding in 2021 are most likely to be down the priority list at this time of year, however, this is the time of year when you could hold the most valuable information in terms of whether or not your silage ground will need attention within the 2021 reseeding plan.

Silage quality is a result of many factors beyond grass quality at time of harvest. Weather conditions at time of cutting, grass growth stage at time of cutting, techniques at time of preservation, etc will all play a significant role in how your silage results look right now. With these factors having such a part to play, it is advisable that you breakout your silage analysis to assess the contributing factors that led to your results.

Which data tells me if I need to reseed silage ground

Looking at your results in terms of the pH, Lactic Acid and Ammonia-N will tell you how well the preservation process has been controlled; however if you wish to consider how good the crop of grass was before harvesting, look at the results for Dry Matter (DM) and Water Soluble Carbohydrate (WSC) or Sugars. The Metabolisable Energy (ME), Crude Protein (CP), Neutral Detergent Fibre (NDF) and Acid Detergent Fibre (ADF) will also tell you more about the quality of the silage crop at harvest.

Chances are there will have been some obvious signs at the time of cutting that certain silage ground needs reseeding, particularly around the aspects of quality and yield. Combining this data with that of your recent silage analysis will allow you to form a pretty conclusive picture on what silage ground will need to be reseeded in order to produce quality silage for this time next year.

Which grass mixtures and varieties will improve silage quality

The Pasture Profit Index (PPI) model for grass variety evaluation assigns economic values to Silage Dry Matter production. A more recent Pasture Profit Index (PPI) will become available in early spring to help you decide on what your silage mixture should be made up of and the list should be referenced for varieties with strong silage values and high quality.

Choosing varieties with positive values for quality will ensure you have a mixture which will support higher animal performance. Considering Intermediate varieties, such as AberWolf (D) and AberClyde (T), is advised as they are ideal for producing high quality silage cuts in late May and mid-July, while late varieties such as AberGain produce good quality silage cuts in early June and late July.

First and Second Cut Silage growth figures indicate production differences between varieties when they are grown for this purpose and are worth referencing. First Cut Silage is based on approximately six to seven weeks growth after an initial spring growth cut is taken in early April. Second Cut Silage is based on approximately six to seven weeks growth after the harvesting of the First Cut Silage.

For now, carefully consider your silage analysis results and use them to ensure you are supporting the dietary requirements of your animals, supplementing their diet as required based on the guidance of a qualified animal nutritionist or advisor. Then, come next spring, reference those same silage analysis results to carefully plan out your 2021 reseeding strategy.

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