Paul Richards - silage in one day

Published 18 July 14

Following on from the Improving silage intakes article, in the last issue of Forage for Knowledge, farmer contributor from Cornwall, Paul Richards, talks about his experience of cutting and picking up silage in a day.

“This spring, we had about 36 acres of Italian Ryegrass which were cut in September last year and, by April, we were getting quite a crop on it. On 16 April, we cut the grass around 06:00, with quite a heavy dew on it. We tedded twice before midday and picked up the crop at 13:00 the same day.

“Having spoken to Luppo Diepenbroek about his theory that, once grass is cut, it dies and stops forming protein, and starts respiration, ie burning sugar and breaking down protein, we decided to have a go on this area. The breakdown of protein is even quicker in the field if the grass has contact with the soil, so by tedding the crop twice we reduced that contact.

“Even when the crop was going into the pit you could tell it was dry. Two weeks later when we opened the pit to ensile our main crop of first cut, it smelt sweet. The analysis of that quick cut has come back showing a DM of 35% and an ME of 11.3.

“Luppo’s theory is really interesting and we saw it working here in Cornwall this spring.”