2016 silages shaping up well overall

Published 5 October 16

Analysis of grass and wholecrop cereal silages so far this year suggests they may perform better than last year overall. As always, the end result on farm will depend on local variation in silage quality and the all-important dry matter intake, but the analysis to date is looking optimistic.

Trouw Nutrition’s latest results for first and second cut grass silages show higher total fermentable carbohydrate (TFC) compared to last year, which has helped push up Trouw’s dynamic energy (DyNE) values. DyNE takes into account the value of the products of fermentation in the rumen, as well as digestion in the small intestine. It suggests 2016’s grass silage may perform better than would be expected from looking at its metabolisable energy (ME) value alone.

However, this year’s grass silages have lower levels of rapidly fermentable carbohydrate (RFC), suggesting some additional quicker-fermenting starch supplementation may be needed. The good news is that wholecrop cereal silages are showing higher RFC values than last year so far, which should complement the levels in grass silage. Wholecrop silage is also showing a higher DyNE value compared to 2015, suggesting an extra 0.4 litres of milk could be gained from a dry matter intake of 6kg.