Silage Surprise

Will your 2016 silage be a succulent starting point for your livestock rations or a not-so-sweet roughage to chew through the winter?

With livestock farmers up and down the country now looking to sample and assess the quality of silage in bale-stacks, pits and ag-bags, the AgriScot team are calling for producers to share their analysis results.

A total prize package worth £4000 is up for grabs, thanks to sponsors, Watson Seeds Ltd.

“2016 was certainly a mixed bag in terms of the grass growing season, it will be very interesting to see how this has affected silage crops,” commented AgriScot silage comp organiser Andrew Best.

“A cold spring delayed grass growth in many parts of the country. And then in May and June there was a huge amount of growth in a very short period of time.”

“A lot of first cut silage was made in favourable weather conditions, but then many farmers found it difficult to find good weather windows for subsequent cuts.”

“However I suspect that, despite the vagaries of our weather, there could be some very, very good silages around this year and I would urge farmers to email their analysis reports in order to enter this AgriScot competition.”

The competition is divided into 3 sections, with a class for 1st cut clamp silage, a class for baled silage from any cut and a young farmers class for 1st or 2nd cut clamp silage.

South West Scotland came up trumps in the 2015 competition with the top 3 1st cut clamp silage, the top 3 young farmers samples and the top 2 big bale samples all coming from that area.

The Ramsay family from Lodge of Kelton, Castle Douglas, took home the prize in the hotly contested 1st cut pit class with a silage of 34.6% dry matter, 15.9% crude protein and a digestibility value of 75.9.

Michael Yates from East Logan, Castle Douglas topped the young farmers section with a prize winning sample, from silage cut on 18th May 2015,  recording a dry matter of 30%, crude protein of 17.1% and overall digestibility value of 75.9.

In the big bale silage section, John Watson (no relation to sponsors) submitted the winning sample from silage baled on his unit at High Mark, Leswalt, Stranraer on 1st September. This was the latest made of all the top placed silage samples across the competition classes and analysed as 46.7%DM, 15.7%CP and 69.1D.

Silage analysis reports for the 2016 competition should be emailed to andrewbest@watsonseeds.com by Friday 7th October for initial judging. The top silages will then be shortlisted and judged as fresh samples by independent judge Hugh McClymont of the Crichton Royal Farm, Dumfries.

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