Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Take advantage of maize to beat forage shortfall

May 31, 2018 by  
Filed under Livestock

Late-drilled maize could offer a real opportunity this summer for growers with poor forage yields and quality from early cuts of silage – or those unable to drill spring barley.

Ultra-early maize varieties can be drilled into June and will produce more energy than several cuts of average grass and be a  valuable resource for both livestock and AD use, says Wilson Hendry of forage specialists Grainseed.

“In many cases, livestock has been kept inside for an extra month consuming expensive bought-in feeds or forage reserves and grass growth is looking insufficient to produce enough quality silage for next winter,” he says.

“Depending on conditions, silage yields could be 20% down on an average year with quality levels and sugar contents likely to be below where they need to be too. Some producers had to start their silage cutting late and are now chasing bulk and energy.”

Although the season is some 3-4 weeks later than usual, grass maturity will only be a few days behind so taking silage cuts as close as possible to the usual date and then ploughing ground up and drilling maize could be a better option for many.

Early varieties like Picker and Lovely can be drilled up until mid June in most maize growing areas, so it is entirely feasible to put additional maize in and know you will get both quality and yield for next winter, says Mr Hendry.

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