A short survey of key silage-making practices on Northern Ireland dairy farms, and farmer perceptions of factors influencing silage quality
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CitationC.P. Ferris, A.S. Laidlaw and A.R.G. Wylie. A short survey of key silage-making practices on Northern Ireland dairy farms, and farmer perceptions of factors influencing silage quality. Irish Journal of Agricultural and Food Research. 2022. DOI: 10.15212/ijafr-2022-0103
AbstractNorthern Ireland dairy farmers (n = 174) were surveyed to identify key silage-making practices, and factors perceived to influence the quality of grass silage made on their farms. The majority of farmers (65%) harvested grass for silage three times/year: 62% normally used a contractor, while 47% routinely used a silage additive. Delays to mowing and delays to harvesting due to adverse weather or poor ground conditions were perceived to have a large or very large impact on silage quality (68% and 53% of farmers, respectively). Inadequate wilting, poor-quality swards on owned land, on rented land and “contamination” of first-cut grass with autumn or winter growth herbage were all perceived as having a large or very large impact on silage quality (32%, 27%, 40%, 30% of farmers, respectively). Over the previous decade, 11%, 41% and 37% of farmers claimed a small, moderate or large improvement in silage quality, mainly due to earlier cutting of grass and ensiling better quality swards.
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