The traditional way of harvesting cereals for livestock was arable silage which was harvested when the grain reached the cheesy ripe stage in late July. This did produce high yields but a moderate feed quality making it really only suitable to dry spring calving cows. The other problem with it was its attractiveness to vermin and hence baling arable silage was not particularly successful due to the damage to the wrap.
The introduction of forage harvesters with grain crackers allowing the crop to be harvested 2 – 3 weeks later with the grain at the hard dough stage which produced a much better feed, largely due to the increasing proportion of starch in the grain. However this later stage does require an additive to produce a stable fermentation.
If you are very short of forage and have cereal fields which are not past the late milky stage, then consider either –
- Mowing and baling the headlands of all your cereal fields
- Or bale all of the worst field you have.
If you don’t have cereal crops try speaking to a farmer who does.
Donald Dunbar, firstname.lastname@example.org
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