By Diarmuid Guinan
Silage testing can be one of the most important tasks carried out before housing animals for the winter. The nutritional results such as Crude Protein, Dry Matter, Metabolizable Energy and Ash can be taken from the silage result. As well as this the sample can be sent for mineral analysis
The winter-feeding period is the most expensive stage in most Irish production systems. This is why it is vital to have correctly tailored animal nutrition to optimise the performance of each animal group. It is expensive to produce grass silage so assessing its nutritional value is crucial. By knowing the nutritional value of your silage it will allow supplementation of concentrates to achieve target weight gain. As the percentage of silage DMD (Dry Matter Digestible) drops the level of concentrates needed increases. For example to achieve the target weight gain of 0.6kg/day for weanlings on a grass silage of over 75% DMD would only require 1kg of concentrates per day. This is compared to a sample which tested at 55% DMD and needs 4kg of concentrates to achieve target weight. This is why it is important to know the nutritional value of your silage or you could end up with cattle not meeting their target weights.
Contact your local Liffey Mills representative to get your silage tested or for any advice on planning your feeding regime for the upcoming winter.