Ex­perts are urg­ing beef and sheep pro­duc­ers to get silage an­a­lysed now

The Oban Times - - Farming/property -

EX­PERTS from Scot­land’s Ru­ral Col­lege (SRUC) are en­cour­ag­ing beef and sheep pro­duc­ers in Scot­land and the North of Eng­land to get their silage an­a­lysed as soon as pos­si­ble to give them max­i­mum warn­ing of po­ten­tial prob­lems they could face this win­ter.

While early pub­lished anal­y­sis showed a slight im­prove­ment on last year’s feed value, the fig­ures of­ten re­late to fields cut dur­ing the sunny days of late April or May.

For many parts of the coun­try it has been a poor sum­mer be­cause of cold, rain and some­times even drought.

Ac­cord­ing to well-known SRUC live­stock spe­cial­ist, Dr Basil Low­man, one of the many things to have suf­fered is the qual­ity of silage made for feed­ing next win­ter.

He said: ‘ For the vast ma­jor­ity of beef and sheep pro­duc­ers mak­ing silage in the con­di­tions of June and July has been com­pletely dif­fer­ent. The cool con­di­tions re­duce the grass growth, but not the date when seed heads emerge, re­sult­ing in low yields of quite stemmy ma­te­rial. For many, con­di­tions then wors­ened still fur­ther, with in­creased and even ex­ces­sive rain­fall.’

Dr Low­man points to ev­i­dence show­ing the huge im­pact silage qual­ity can have on the amount of win­ter feed needed, if an­i­mal per­for­mance is to be main­tained.

The SRUC be­lieves that beef and sheep pro­duc­ers who get their silage an­a­lysed now give them­selves time to plan and pre­pare for any prob­lems they might face this win­ter.

How­ever, what­ever farm­ers are do­ing around their silage pits this sea­son, SRUC urges cau­tion. With lots of wet silage made pits are bulging and slip­pery and it is im­por­tant to take a safety first ap­proach.

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