Making many adjustments: high-quality silages for high-output cows

High-quality grass silages grass silages are a major component in feed. Especially in times wheremilk prices milk prices are so low, it is increasingly important to manage your own resources properly: The most important elements at a glance.

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Uneven layers arise without a silo router. Sufficient compression is therefore not possible.Making many adjustments: high-quality silages for high-output cows
Uneven layers arise without a silo router. Sufficient compression is therefore not possible.

High output due to suitable maintenance measures (rolling, dragging, re-sowing, etc.).

High-quality grasslands are achieved by selecting suitable mixtures (such as Plantinum) in connection with the correct maintenance measures. If weak spots and gaps are not re-sowed in good time then the risk of raw ash (RA) occurring also increases. 2 percent more RA means minus 0.1 MJ NEL/kg of dry matter (DM) or 5 percent less milk.

Optimal cutting time (beginning of panicle/ear emergence).

The correct cutting time determines the nutrient and energy content of the grass silage and suitability for ensilaging. Every day waiting means that these parameters get worse. If cutting takes place ten days too late, then the milk production value of the silage falls by 2 kilograms of milk. If cutting is delayed by five days, then it is still 1 kilogram.

Co-ordinated ensilaging chain from mowing to storage. Don't mow too close (stubble height on meadowland 5 to 6 centimetres, 6-8 centimetres on grassland).

Most forage grasses (such as ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass) store their energy reserves for regrowth in the stubble. If mowing is too deep, then these grasses are weakened and no longer sufficiently competitive. Lower-quality varieties and weeds (such as couch grass, sorrel) become more widespread. The quality of stock falls.

Optimal degree of wilting is at least 30 percent of dry matter and a maximum of 40 percent of dry matter.

Wilting must take place quickly and promptly. Higher dry matter contents mean greater losses. Undesirable micro-organisms (such as yeasts) reproduce and nutrients are broken down. Problems with losses due to crumbling, compressibility, and heat increase. In general, the following applies: The shorter the field retention time, the better the wilting conditions, therefore the lower the losses. 24-hour silage is the target.

Accurately adjusted forage technology (short chop lengths, no scratching in the soil).

The chop length influences the quality of compression. The higher the dry matter content or fibre content, the shorter the chop length. If the target values are not achieved, then air can enter too far into the store after opening the silo and warming is the result.

Targeted use of silage agents for improving quality or ensuring aerobic shelf life – use of DLG-tested silage agents.

High-quality silage also means more effective use of silage additives. However, only targeted and correct use of such is expedient. If the grass silage is treated with Siloferm, then lactic acid fermentation is considerably more efficient. Its pure protein content is approximately 25 percent higher compared to silage that was naturally fermented without butyric acid. On the other hand, BioCool ensures aerobic shelf life. Signs of heat and mould are effectively avoided. In addition, approximately 5 to 7 grams of propylene glycol are created in silage for every kilogram of dry matter, which corresponds to daily consumption of 50 to 70 grams per animal per day – a further positive effect of BioCool.

Sufficient compression, adjustment of silage making to rolling performance, adherence to minimum removal rate (in winter more than 1.5 metres and in summer more than 2.5 metres per week).

The maximum layer thickness in storage should be in the region of 20 to 30 centimetres. Only then is it possible to exert enough pressure. If layer thicknesses of 40 centimetres are stored, then the pressure is reduced to only 30 percent of the original value.

Airtight cover (lining wrap, underlay film, silage film, silo protection grids, silo sacks).

The choice of materials has a major effect on losses beneath the film. If higher-quality silage films with better gas density (such as O2 barriers) are used, then the additional costs are balanced out through minimised losses.

During storage check the cover frequently for damage.

Holes in the film are passages for air and water. The silage beneath spoils and is then completely unsuitable as feed. Furthermore, the risk of heating up increases in surrounding layers.

Do not unnecessarily loosen the cut surface upon removal (keep the silo clean and well-swept).

The greater the loosening, the further air can penetrate. What is important is that the selected machinery is also controlled upon removal.

Interested parties can obtain more information from Dr Sabine Rahn, Tel. +49 - 251 682-2289, or go to

Information: Approximately 10 million hectares of agricultural land in Germany is used to create feed.

AGRAVIS Raiffeisen AG Kontakt:
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