After last year’s difficult forage-making conditions, many dairy and livestock producers and their advisers will be focused on maximising silage stocks this year. CF Fertilisers has launched an online Aftercut Silage Health Check to give valuable guidelines on how to achieve this.

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CF’s Mark Garrett explains that producers answer a series of simple online questions about their system and management and then receive information and specific recommendations for maximising grass production from their own individual farm situation. “It’s designed to help grassland producers recognise the important stages in the decision making process and also help point them in the right direction when it comes to the fertiliser choices required to help them meet their objectives,” he says.

“It is important producers do not delay applying aftercut fertiliser. The more delay applying N after the first cut, the more yield lost. Delaying by a week will see a yield drop approaching 10% and, if this extends to 14 days, the loss will be nearer 25%.

“Delaying the application of second cut fertiliser will lose 370kg/ha of fresh grass per day -these are significant losses. It’s also essential to select the correct fertiliser product for your system with Phosphate and Sulphur being particularly important,” Mr Garrett adds.

“Use a high quaIity ammonium nitrate (AN) based fertiliser to maximise quick N uptake and consider a rate of 2.5kg N/ha/day if you are disappointed with first cut yields. Fertiliser use will need to be balanced against manure application and good quality NPKS, NKS or NS true granular compounds should be used according to soil analyses.

“The CF Fertilisers Aftercut Silage Health Check will help with all these decisions and is free to use, enabling somebody to identify where they could make significant improvements in silage production efficiency, whether it’s increasing yield or improving quality.”

The Health Check is available at www.aftercutsilagehealthcheck.co.uk.