11th June 2020 - Page 32



32
FARMWEEK
MAY 09 2019
BALMORAL SHOW
Check your grass, not the date
BY PETER SMITH,
VOLAC BUSINESS MANAGER FOR ECOSYL
A
FTER a mild winter we now have
a great chance to rebuild silage
stocks depleted after that long, dry
summer of 2018.
One way would be to take an early
first cut. After all you do not have to always
wait until May is nearly out.
By cutting earlier, not only is grass
quality likely to be better, but regrowth
can be faster from the fresher sward that
gives better tillering leading to a stronger,
healthier second cut. An earlier second cut
can therefore give greater total tonnage
over the two cuts than from one later cut,
thus helping get silage reserves back to
more comfortable levels in case we again
have another long dry summer.
If instead first cut is left late awaiting bulk
the quality can be much poorer. That very
heavy late crop can contain a lot of dead
material in the sward base.
Remember, a ryegrass plant will only
support three leaves. A plant that already
has three leaves, which then puts out a
fourth, will then have a leaf at the bottom
that dies back.
When cutting early before longer, drier
summer days arrive and with heavy dews
the lush crops will need more wilting. So
mow in the morning and ted out within a
couple of hours driving slowly to get a good
spread. This will maximise wilt and the key
is to get 28-32 per cent DM as quickly as
possible.
Early cut grass tends to be higher in
digestibility and protein so help will be
needed with fermentation as higher protein
tends to have a buffering effect.
Wilting to the correct percentage dry
matter will certainly help with preservation
as will a suitable additive. But do make sure
the additive has been proven to work with
this higher protein grass heading for your
silo pit.
To join the debate on best practice silage
making browse www.cuttoclamp.com or
contact Volac free phone 0800 919808 for
further information.
Volac Ecosyl tried and tested additives are
distributed in NI by John Thompson & Son
Ltd, telephone (028) 9035 1321.
RIGHT: Peter Smith says watch the grass
to judge when to take first cut silage.
Fierce competition expected in Suffolk classes
C
ORK breeder Arthur O’Keeffe
will judge this year’s Suffolk
classes at Balmoral Show.
O’Keeffe, of the famed Annakisha
flock in Cork, will have the unenviable
task of choosing a winner from a total
of five classes before selecting the
special prize winners and, of course,
the Supreme RUAS champion for
2019.
Judging takes place on Wednesday,
LEFT: Last year’s Supreme
Champion from G Beacom.
the first day of the four day event,
starting at 1pm when Northern
Ireland’s leading breeders will
again put their best foot forward in
presenting another outstanding lineup.
Competition in the Suffolk judging
ring is best described as fierce but
friendly and this healthy rivalry
merely adds to the sense of occasion
as local flock owners set their
sights on a Royal Ulster Agricultural
Society champion rosette.
Balmoral is a major shop window
for breeders and potential customers
alike, with pedigree flock owners
and commercial sheep producers
getting a first glimpse of the cream
of the 2019 lamb crop, some of which
will become available for purchase
during the summer selling season.
For more information
contact chairman Joe
Stewart 07884 336400
or secretary Orla Butler 07841
117252.

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