Ration balance critical to benefit from multi-cut grass silages

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Length: 96 words; <1 minutes

Taking more cuts of grass silage will increase feed value, but the extra protein can make creating a winter ration that’s below 19% crude protein a challenge.

Multi-cut systems typically involve five or more cuts, compared to a more traditional 2–3 cut approach. Claimed benefits include more milk from forage, lower feed costs and a higher margin over purchased feeds.

The key is to meet the cow’s requirements for higher quality protein with minimal excess rumen degradable protein (RDP). The challenge is greatest where there’s insufficient low protein, high starch maize or wholecrop cereal silage available.

Key facts & figures:

  • Cutting swards more often will raise silage digestibility, energy and protein

  • Multi-cut grass silages can contain 15–20% CP1 vs. 9–16% for 2–3 cut systems

  • CEDAR research shows little benefit in overall ration CP1 levels above 16%

  • Add Molale or Economol for sugar energy to drive rapid microbial growth

  • Soda Wheat a rumen-friendly source of additional starch energy

  • Use Traffordgold, soya hulls or sugar beet feed for extra digestible fibre

1 Crude protein

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