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Wholecrop silage can be cut from 30-60% DM. The drier the crop the more complicated the process, the greater the risk of the silage heating at feed out and the more essential an additive becomes.
It is better to cut at lower DMs as pit management is easier and it will reduce waste at feed out.
Harvesting at 30-40% DM
If needing to make up for disappointing grass silage yields, harvesting wholecrop at 30-40% DM helps achieve maximum fresh weight yield. In this % DM range wholecrop can be harvested without special equipment.
However, this % DM will not give the maximum DM yield and will be lower in starch.
Harvesting at 40-50% DM
A more commonly-used %DM range for wholecrop, this offers a similar fresh weight as 30-40% DM, but more starch – making it useful for animal performance.
This % DM also offers good moisture availability for fermentation, although it is more difficult to keep cool and stable at feed out than lower %DMs, so a dual-acting additive like ecocool, is important.
For harvest, a wholecrop header is needed. Above 45% DM, a grain cracker may also be needed to prevent grains passing through the animal intact, unless the crop is undersown, when there may be enough moisture to help soften the grain.
Harvesting at 50-60% DM
At 50-60% DM, starch levels will increase further. So too will the ‘scratch factor’ as the crop is more fibrous, making it useful for higher production animals, particularly if feeding lower-fibre forages with it.
At these DM consolidation/rolling/compacting the silage is increasingly difficult. This can predispose the silage to heating at feed out, a dual action additive like Ecocool that prevents heating at the pit face is important.
In addition, it is always important to fill clamps in shallow layers at most 10-15cm deep, but at these % DMs it is critical in order to avoid “hot spots” in the clamp when feeding out.
At these %DMs, a grain cracker on the harvester is essential.
Ecocool is a dual action additive that aid fermentation, keep the silage aerobically stable and cool and stops the silage from heating up when feeding out.
It combines two unique bacterial strains in one inoculant, Lactobacillus plantarum strain MTD/1 for improved fermentation and Lactobacillus buchneri strain PJB/1 for improved aerobic stability, giving you more better quality silage to feed.
Mixing and application
One bottle treats 100t, (acres per bottle will depend on crop yield)
Wholecrop yield expectation:
Liquid application only – variable from 20 ml to 2 l/t
Cost per bottle = €210