Managing slurry in more frequent silage cuts

Managing slurry in more frequent silage cuts

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

“In parts of the country, first-cut was harvested two to three weeks early this year because of good grass growth,” explains Mr Ward (silage expert from Ecosyl), “and many people are adopting more frequent cutting to improve silage quality.


“In these situations, people could be taking second-cut just five weeks after first-cut. Slurry introduces all sorts of undesirable microbes into silage, such as enterobacteria and clostridia, both of which produce a poor silage fermentation, increasing the risk of higher clamp losses.


“If you are applying slurry between cuts, it will be important to take precautions to protect the fermentation,” he adds.


Rather than spreading slurry, Mr Ward urges keeping it off the leaves and introducing it directly to the ground, either with a trailing shoe type applicator, or better still by injecting it.


“If you do apply slurry, then wilting grass to above 30% dry matter and applying a bacterial additive will both reduce the risk of a poor fermentation.


“Ensiling above 30% dry matter helps because there’s less water in the clamp to dilute the acid conditions produced during fermentation, and which preserve the silage. With wet silage, it takes longer for the pH to fall, so undesirable bacteria can gain a foothold.


If undesirable bacteria, such as clostridia, are allowed to gain a foothold you get secondary fermentation, which converts beneficial lactic acid into weaker butyric acid, so silage becomes less stable.




BGS Members BGS is a membership organisation which acts as a communication forum, through events and publications, for the profitable and sustainable use of grass and forage.

Local Societies

BGS Members Use our Local Society directory to locate your nearest societies, information resources and experts on grassland farming and foraging.