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.
- Further information on successful silage resources: silage manual, silage notes plus other helpful tools can be found athttps://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/pastures-and-rangelands/silage
- For further information on silage webinars: www.lls.nsw.gov.au/silage-webinars - 'At this website producers can sign up with Local Land Services for the next webinars and find a link to catch up on those they have missed'
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