3 June 2013

This year AFIA has started a new initiative with our “Fodder Grower Updates”. So far we’ve run two successful days with a focus on export hay. Now we are bringing the ‘Fodder Grower updates’ to fodder growers, contractors and buyers in Condah and Lockington in Victoria, as well as Wagga in NSW, this time with a focus on the benefits of quality silage; both how to make it and use it.

People have used fermentation as a food preserving technique for hundreds of years, often with recipes that are handed down through the generations. However when it comes to making silage we don’t have that same history in Australia but we do make a lot of silage, both in pits and bales.

While the basics of making silage are fairly well known, there are a number of simple things you can do to maximise the quality of your silage as well as a range of new technologies and innovations available.

Peter Phillipzen of Moxey Farms, Goologong, NSW has years of experience in silage production and animal nutrition and will be speaking at the Wagga Grower Update on Thursday 27June.

”Silage can add real value to any livestock business by improving animal nutrition, but getting it right is not always easy and getting it wrong can be costly. Making some simple changes to your technique such as preparing the site properly and getting the time of cutting right can make all the difference” says Peter. 

AFIA asked Peter to give us his top tips on maximising silage quality and the new technologies and innovations people can use to get the most out of their silage;

Peter’s top tips on making quality silage are;

  • Use crop specific techniques – it’s not as easy as one size fits all,make sure you’re getting the best out of your silage crop by using the right technique.
  • Site preparation for storage – a bit of extra time invested in site preparation can bring big returns by reducing losses.
  • Timing – Cutting as early as possible will ensure a higher quality product.
  • Packing density – For baled silage press bales as densely as possible to avoid sagging
  • Feedout – There are many options for feeding silage, but make sure you aren’t wasting valuable feed by doing it incorrectly.

New silage technologies and innovations worth having a look at;

  • Oxygen barriers – Reduce losses significantly with new oxygen barrier technology.
  • Inoculants – Give silage the best chance of success by considering the use of silage preservatives or inoculants, particularly if conditions aren’t ideal
  • Harvesting machine options – look at tedders, conditioners, correct balers and wrappers. 

Aside from the Wagga Wagga grower update, AFIA will also be hosting updates in Lockington, Victoria on Tuesday 18 June and Condah, Victoria on Thursday 18 June featuring guest speakers Ian Sawyer, animal nutritionist, Owen Rees, Reid Stockfeeds and some pointers on using and understanding feedtests from Rick Stadler, Feedtest and Steve Cotton, Livestock Intel.

For more information on the AFIA Silage Grower Updates contact Caitlin Scholfield on 03 95302199 or caitlin@afia.org.au