But despite the challenging climate, silage producers came together to be judged at AgriScot by independent assessor Hugh McClymont, who provided a live commentary whilst critiquing silage samples in the main ring and giving pointers as to how top-quality silage can be produced.
Based on their chemical analysis, samples of pit and big bale silage from beef, sheep and dairy farms had been shortlisted for the annual Watson Seeds sponsored AgriScot silage competition.
The winning silage in the dairy clamp class was produced by Andrew Baird, produced on Auchontroch, Lesmahagow, with 34.7 dry matter, metabolizable energy of 12.3 and crude protein 14.8.
In second place was Paul Wadsworth’s silage from Big Balcraig, Newton Stewart. A sample from Robert Hamilton of Barmoorhill, Tarbolton was in third.
The new beef and sheep silage class saw a farm from south of the Border take top honours, with silage from the Lilburn Estates team at North Middleton, Wooler ranked number one. This was 40.9DM, 11.1ME and 14.5CP. Second place went to Drew Wilson, of Greenhead Farm, Rescobie, Angus, while Harry Hiddleston of Park Farm, Dumfries, produced the third placed beef and sheep silage.
In the Big Bale silage class, Colin Davidson of Halymyre, Castle Douglas, was awarded first prize with a silage of 40.5DM, 12.1ME and 14.9CP. A Newton Mearns unit, Burnhouse, farmed by Iain Reid, produced the second placed sample with 49.8DM,11.7ME, 12.3CP, and the third-place ticket went home all the way to Shetland as a reward for the silage making skills of Kevin Tait, Fairkyknowe, Bigton.
The young farmers’ class, for silage producers under 26years old, was won by Sean Brotherston of Wormiston, Peebles, with silage analysed as 27.2DM, 11.8ME and 13.6 protein. Robert Ramsay from Lodge of Kelton, Castle Douglas produced the second placed silage and Andrew McWilliam of Colfin, Stranraer came third.
Mr McClymont, who is farm manager at the Crichton Royal farm, Dumfries, commented on this year’s results: “Given the challenging season, there has been some excellent silage entered into the competition. The judging shows that the chemical analysis is not everything and judging the silage by eye can show that the one that has the best chemical results isn’t always the winner overall.”