Advice for Longford farmers on winter feeding

Advice for Longford farmers on winter feeding

It is the start of another winter and again the importance of quality silage cannot be over emphasised. 

It has been a very long hard year with poor weather and poor prices. A lot of farmers have their cattle in sheds as we speak. In general the quality of silage is poorer this year than normal. It also appears in this area that there is enough of quantity on most farms. 

It is important at this time of year to do up your budget for what amount of fodder you require for the feeding period. 

A dairy cow requires 1.8 bales of silage per month, a suckler cow 1.6 bales per month, a store animal 1.4 bales per month and a weanling 0.8 bales per month.

So therefore from these figures you can work out what your total requirement is. Once you have your budget done you can decide if you need to take action. 

Another very important job at this time of year is to take a silage sample. If you do not know what your quality of your silage is. How do you know? if you need to feed concentrates or not. It is important to be very careful when you are taking a silage sample to ensure that you get the most accurate result. 

Take different pieces of silage from the bale and pit face avoiding the outer layers. For example if you have very poor silage of55% DMD then you need to feed 3.5kgs of concentrate to gain 0.6kgs of weight for a weanling and if you have very good silage e.g. 72% DMD then you will only need 1kg of meal to gain 0.6kgs of weight.