Assessing silage swards in Co Fermanagh

Date published: 06 June 2019

Stephen McDonald runs a suckler herd producing weanling calves alongside a sheep enterprise on his farm near Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh.

Ruth Moore, Beef and Sheep Development Adviser, CAFRE with Business Development Group member Stephen McDonald assessing the quality of silage swards on Stephen’s farm near Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh.

Stephen will walk silage swards regularly over the next few weeks to assess the quality of the sward. 

The main considerations for most suckler farms is to have an adequate yield of dry matter at an acceptable feed value for the animals on his farm.   Whilst weather conditions dictate a lot of the decisions around making silage it is important to consider cutting grass at the correct stage. Crop maturity will affect the digestibility of the silage and consequently it’s feeding value during the winter months. Obviously, if silage fields were closed up late there will be some delay in cutting. Grass will produce a seed head from mid-May on and this reduces grass quality (and growth rate) regardless of yield.

Stephen’s is a member of a Suckler Beef Business Development Group (BDG) in the Maguiresbridge/Lisnaskea area where they met eight times over the past year. It is focusing on a range of measures to improve suckler cow performance.

BDG meetings have begun to roll out across all sectors and will continue to consider and debate factors affecting efficiency and productivity across their farms.

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