Opportunity to boost second cuts

Opportunity to boost second cuts

Friday, May 7, 2010

Applying fertiliser and controlling weeds in grass after first cut is vital to optimise total silage yields this year, says independent grassland specialist Charlie Morgan.

 "With lower first cut grass yields expected due to the late, cold spring, and silage stocks low or non-existent on most farms, farmers will be looking to big second cuts to make up any shortfall," says Charlie.

 "Grass started growing three or four weeks later than normal in many parts of the UK due to low temperatures. This will significantly reduce yield of first cut crops, when taken on traditional cutting dates.

 "For early silage-makers, second cuts could, therefore, yield more than normal as long as moisture does not become a limiting factor. Applying fertiliser and controlling weeds post first cut will help optimise yields."

Docks are the main concern in silage crops as a 10% infestation will lead to a 10% yield loss - equivalent to one trailer load in ten, he explains.

"The late start, April night frosts and stop-start growth rates have reduced opportunities to spray weeds before first cut," explains David Roberts, grassland technical manager for Dow AgroSciences.

"The next opportunity to treat docks is around three weeks after first cut - when weeds are growing fast at the same growth stage. A translocated herbicide, like Doxstar, which works right down into the long tap root, will kill the whole plant and allow grass to re-colonise the ground where they were growing," says David.

"Unlike products based on older chemistry - Doxstar is also grass-safe and will not knock growth when growing as much grass as possible is a priority."


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