Baled silage makers wanted for study

Baled silage makers wanted for study

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A UK-wide farm survey to evaluate the effect of different on-farm management techniques on baled silage quality will be carried out by the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth University.

To allow the project to cover a cross section of all farm types and enterprises, across the UK, 80 farmers who produce the majority of their silage produced in large round bales are being recruited.

 Anyone interested in taking part in the survey should contact, the project funder, the Silage Advisory Centre (SilAC), you can register online at www.silageadvice.com, or ask for a registration form by email at lauren@silageadvice.com.

SilAC says Each farmer will be visited in Jan-Feb 2012 and receive a report detailing the results of their baled silage analysis and overall findings of the research, in particular, those management practices that improve overall silage quality. Their individual information will be kept confidential.

 "On each farm, three bales next in line for feeding will be assessed", explains Rhun Fychan, research scientist at IBERS. "Any physical damage to the film wrap will be noted and the bales will be 'pressure tested' to see how well sealed they are. On opening the three bales, surface mould cover will be assessed before cores of the bales are taken for chemical analysis."

 Farmers will also be requested to complete a questionnaire detailing the history of the silage bales evaluated, with questions ranging from the age of the pasture, fertiliser applied, to the number of film layers applied and type of storage site.

 "The data gained will assist in building up a picture of how different baled silage production systems result in silages with different nutritional quality and how the various factors affect silage losses due to moulds and other such factors," says Rhun.

 Collated results from the project will assist in highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of certain management practices carried out on farms in baled silage production systems.

 "Since the establishment of bale wrapping technologies for the production of baled silage some 25 years ago, much scientific research has been conducted to identify the best practices to produce high quality baled silage," explains David Craig, Managing Director of the Silage Advisory Centre.

 "The results of the survey will provide us with practical, on-farm data to move forward in best practice recommendations to farmers where improvements can be made, ultimately SilAC's aim." continues David.

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