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Silage Quality Analysis Project

Many farms in our Advance Party make use of silage or baleage as a substantial proportion of the diet used to maintain hinds over the winter.

We have been calculating feed requirements on a simple dry matter basis, but recognize the limitation of this in that it assumes the feed is of a certain energy level and quality. For example a simple rule of thumb is that maintenance is equivalent to 2% of LW – assuming a 10.5MJME feed (See attached for a definition of this). If the feed on offer is substantially different from 10.5MJME, the dry matter requirement changes. In cases where the energy content is insufficient, a small amount of another high-energy feed may need to be added to the diet to prevent weight loss.

Members of our group submitted samples of their silage/baleage for basic feed quality analysis to better understand the energy content and other feed quality parameters in what they were offering their stock.

 

Take-home messages
• Factors that contribute to improved silage quality in this comparison:
o Cutting early in the season
o Cutting at lower yield (3000kgDM/ha or less)
o Taking sample at correct depth (800mm)
• For more comprehensive information on making good pasture silage see Dairy NZ Factsheet
https://www.dairynz.co.nz/news/latest-news/pasture-silage-maximising-the-return-on-your-investment/