Silage plays a very large role in the success of our program here at Princess Royal Station. An essential element of efficient and effective feeding, silage is highly beneficial, but what is it? What makes it so useful? Our cropping manager Shawn Rayson and our team of South Australian feedlot specialists have compiled your handy and helpful guide to silage right here.
What is silage?
Silage is grass, or other plant fodder, that has been compacted and stored in an airtight storage facility - without being dried first.
How is it made?
Silage is cut when the crop comes out in head. Cut with our Miller Nitro, which has a 30 ft. Honeybee front, the silage stays in rows on the ground until the moisture levels are just right - taking anywhere from 1 hour to 2 to 3 days. The aim of this is to achieve about 60% - 75% moisture in the fodder, so when it is put into storage it will ferment.
Averaging about 12 - 15 tonnes of wet fodder, the silage harvester then comes around and picks up the rows, chopping them into roughly 1 inch lengths before dropping them into a truck to take to the pit.
Once it is in the pit, a tractor pushes it into a heap, each heap holding roughly 3000 tonnes. The pits are then covered to be airtight, optimising the fermentation process.
How do you know when it’s ready?
After about 30 days of fermentation, the feed’s energy levels are tested. When they are around 10%, we know that it’s ready to be used, and in this 2015 season, we are aiming on reaping around 12,000 tonnes of silage.
What are the benefits?
At Princess Royal, we prefer using silage over hay in our feed mixes. High in moisture, silage retains the natural sugars and energy of the plants, making it a very beneficial feed mix for our cattle.
Would you like to learn more about our work here at Princess Royal Station? The below articles may be useful to you, otherwise, please feel free to give our friendly team a call.