Q. Do we have an answer to short term silage pit fillers/grazing?
A. Well, if we have rain, we have all the answers!
With the hot, drought-like weather that we have been experiencing recently, there is a question of how we avoid a shortage of silage and grazing yields. Here are some possible solutions for this problem, which maximise quantity without compromising on quality.
Westerwolds are ideal as a heavy bulking, short-term grass. Sown in the spring or the autumn, they are the highest yielding grass available. However, it is worth noting that autumn sown crops can be exposed to Frit Fly attack, more so in the South. Westerwolds have high sugars and are ideal for ensiling, although traditionally they have been referred to as having a lower quality and are not as winter hardy as other Italian Ryegrasses. Breeders are now producing better varieties of Westerwolds than 30 years ago, which are much more likely to grow through the winter. This crop should be sown at about 15 kilos per acre and will require adequate supplies of nitrogen. In order to get the most out of your Westerwold grass, cut it before the head appears, to encourage regrowth for the 2nd and subsequent cuts.
Italian Ryegrass Blend (50% Diploid, 50% Tetraploid)
The diploids within this blend tiller are better at providing ground cover than just tetraploids alone. Diploids also have a lower water content per cell and a higher dry matter per kilo of feed, resulting in more energy for livestock. Tetraploids are typically more palatable, although lower in fibre they have higher sugar levels and higher water contents. This is due to them having four sets of chromosomes as opposed to the two that diploids possess. Both have similar protein levels. As a blend, you get a well-balanced mixture of quality and quantity. Italian Ryegrasses have a digestibility advantage over Westerwolds as they grow vegetative longer. This blend should be sown between 12.5 -15 kilos per acre.
Did you know?
By cutting or grazing your grass too short the root structures can be deeply affected. This can lead to a decline in the quality and production of your grass.
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Looking to the future, look for longer term leys - we offer a complete range of mixtures both ‘off the shelf’ or bespoke to your particular requirements.
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