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News 847 views last update:14 Jan 2016

Time to assess forage stock ahead of winter

Now is the ideal time for beef and sheep farmers to calculate their forage stocks ahead of this winter, according to Eblex beef and sheep scientist Liz Genever.

It is important to weigh some bales as they can vary significantly, especially between fields, cuts and balers, advises Dr Genever.

Once the total fresh tonnage has been calculated, send a representative sample away for nutritional analysis. For silage, wait six weeks after harvest, as it takes this long for fermentation to stabilise. Hay can be analysed immediately.

Farmers should take several samples across the clamp at least 1.5m deep, or from a minimum of five bales of the same batch. It is worth mixing the sub-samples well before selecting at least two handfuls to send off. Pack into a polythene bag and squeeze the air out before sealing tightly, she says.

Once the analysis has been received, the total dry matter available to feed can be calculated for each batch of bales or clamp.

For more information, see the Eblex manual Making Grass Silage for Better Returns.
Source: Farmers Weekly


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