Farmers reaping rewards from multi-cut

Dairy farmers adopting a progressive multi-cut approach to silage making are reaping the benefits through improved forage quality, according to a recent UK-wide survey being reported at Grassland UK by Germinal.

In the survey of over 150 dairy farmers, over 40% had shortened their cutting intervals in the last three years. Of these, a significant majority (92%) reported either much better or slightly better grass silage quality as a result.

“The fact that the early adopters of multi-cut silage making are seeing an improvement in forage quality is entirely logical,” says Germinal’s Ben Wixey. “Cutting grass earlier in the season and at shorter intervals will mean it is closer to optimum D-value at the point of ensiling and should therefore result in a higher feed value forage.  We estimate that this could amount to as much as an extra 1MJ/kg of energy in many cases – so 12MJ/kg ME silage instead of 11ME – which sets the platform for increasing milk production from forage.”

Mr Wixey points out that to maximise the benefit of a multi-cut silage approach dairy farmers should be routinely reseeding their leys, using the best available varieties from the Recommended Grass and Clover Lists. It is also important to ensure all other elements of the silage making process are carried out with a ‘best practice’ mindset.

Germinal has launched a specialist grass silage mixture formulated to suit ‘multi-cut’ systems. Comprised exclusively of high-ranking Aber® High Sugar Grass perennial ryegrasses, Aber HSG 2 Multi-Cut is designed to produce large quantities of leafy high-quality silage from frequent cutting during the period of peak grass growth.

A balance of diploid and tetraploid varieties, with a tight spread of heading dates, Aber HSG 2 Multi-Cut provides the essential elements of high D-value and outstanding silage yields, plus good ground cover and persistency, to ensure consistent performance over a 6 to 8-year period.

Extra investment in grass silage making will pay dividends, according to Germinal, as the extra feed energy in the clamp – which allows savings in bought-in feed – will boost milk from forage and underpin a more sustainable dairy business.


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About The Author

John Swire - Editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.