Lallemand Animal Nutrition
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May 25, 2021

Grass - What should I do now?

May 25, 2021

Grass growth has been severely hampered by the lack of rain and cold nights across the UK & Ireland throughout April and May, delaying the start of the silage season.

This means farmers will really have to think carefully about their forage making plans to ensure they have the stocks they need for the coming year.

First cut is in the clamp

If the yield and quality was as expected you should:

  • Work with your nutritionist to maximise the intake of this forage in your ration, our recommendation is 12-14kg DM/cow/day
  • Pre-cut test the fields again roughly 2 weeks after first cut to evaluate the quality of the regrowth

If the yield and quality was lower than expected you should:

  • Investigate if it would be possible to increase the silage platform in some way
  • If second cut is unlikely to make up the forage gap you need to investigate purchasing silage or a forage replacer to stretch silage stocks
  • Consider taking a cereal field for wholecrop, as this can offer a source of energy and effective fibre
  • Pre-cut test the fields again roughly 2 weeks after first cut to evaluate the quality of the regrowth

Once first cut has been in the clamp for a couple of weeks do a stock take and determine how it will affect the forage plan for the year.

First cut is not in the clamp

If the NDF% is below 40%

  • The grass has not matured yet and there is still the potential to get one high energy highly digestible cut of grass in the clamp
  • Evaluate the projected heading date for the grass and decide whether there is potential for a high energy second cut ,
  • Consider taking a cereal field for wholecrop, as this can offer a source of energy and effective fibre

If the NDF% is above 40%:

  • The grass has started maturing and transitioning from vegetative to reproductive growth which will lead to a decline in nutritional value
  • Re-evaluate the forage plan for the year and determine what the most cost-effective replacement is for the energy that would have come from this silage

Click on the diagram below to answer your questions about what to do next.

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