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Take steps now to address winter forage shortfalls

Producers facing a shortage of silage this winter are being advised to determine what they have available on a dry-matter basis.


Hannah   Park

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Hannah   Park
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This was the message from David Jones, feeding specialist with InTouch.

 

He says: “A lack of available grazing for the majority of the summer means many farmers have been buffer feeding for a longer period than usual.

 

“By measuring silage stocks and testing quality, farmers can determine how much they have available on a DM basis.

 

“This can then be allocated to the number of stock on-farm, based on a normal winter-feeding period and will flag the level of shortfall to balance supply and demand.”

 

In a situation where silage stocks are not sufficient, additional feed should be sourced as soon as possible as prices are expected to rise, added Mr Jones.

 

“When buying forage replacers, farmers should buy according to the cost of a tonne of DM, as feeds that appear good-value for the season can actually be very expensive if they have a high moisture content.

 

“While straw and hay are fairly good-value in DM terms, appropriate protein and energy sources will be required to make up the nutritional gap.”

 

He adds that the use of InTouch technology can help farmers budget their forage.

 

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