Realising the true value of forage this coming season will come under the microscope at a farm walk staged at Bishop Burton College, Beverley on Wednesday 18 February. Organised by the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers and animal nutrition company, Volac, the event will focus on how to optimise the value of silage swards – what varieties to grow and how, when to cut, how to clamp and to keep cool in order to maximise the quantity and quality of silage, improve potential intakes and ultimately enhance performance from forage.
Speakers include independent consultant Dr Dave Davies, Volac’s Daniel Robinson and Neil Birkett, Germinal’s Iain Eadie and Bishop Burton College farm manager, Phil Richardson who will discuss how making both quantity and quality forage are a priority for unit’s 120 cow dairy herd and his plans for further improvement.
“All livestock farmers have potential to improve their forage making and make further cost savings,” says Volac’s Daniel Robinson. “A 1,000 tonne clamp, or 2,000 500kg bales of silage, analysing 30% dry matter (DM) contains 300 tonnes of DM worth over £30,000.
“However, average DM losses are running at up to 4% from wilting, up to 5% is lost filling the clamp and between 2% to 15% during storage. Effluent losses amount to up to 8% and feed-out losses of up to 15% from silage face to feed trough. Consequently, it goes without saying that optimal practice to minimise losses at every step of the process makes good financial sense.”