Time critical when wilting silage

Time critical when wilting silage

Beef
Wilting of forage for silage should not take longer than 48 hours.

Wilting of forage for silage should not take longer than 48 hours.

Aa

The effect of wilting silage on livestock production

Aa

There's money to made in nailing the wilting of forage destined for silage.

The wilting and sealing processes should ideally be wrapped up al within a 24 hour period to hit optimum nutrient density and to also maximise dry matter intake, says John Piltz.

Mr Piltz, a NSW Department of Primary Industries livestock research officer and Charles Sturt University adjunct research associate said during a "Mowing and wilting" webinar last month that getting these factors right could lift livestock dry matter intake by as much as 35 per cent compared to unwilted silage.

This translated to better livestock weight gains.

"We are lucky in Australia in terms of weather in being able to cut silage, wilt the forage and achieve a good fermentation by wilting," he said.

"But the longer it takes to achieve your dry matter content the lower the dry matter intake [by stock] will be."

If 45 per cent dry matter content could be achieved, the gains with rate of intake could be increased to as much as 40pc more than unwilted silage.

Conversely, once the wilting window reached 48 hours, dry matter intake began a rapid decline.

"So for this reason, we suggest you need to wilt as quickly as possible and that two days should be the target as the longest period," he said.

To achieve the 24 to 48 hour window, some planning was required to ensure fine weather, and producers should also be aware that lighter crops would likely wilt more quickly.

Have you signed up to The Land's free daily newsletter? Register below to make sure you are up to date with everything that's important to NSW agriculture.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by