Learn about the homegrown or bought-in silages, hays, grains / concentrates and other feeds used on most dairy farms to supplement pasture, forages and crops.
Deciding which feed supplement to use should be based on the cheapest energy form. You should take into account:
Silage and hay plans an important role in filling seasonal feed gaps, managing pastures, and providing low cost, high quality forage for cows.
When pasture is ensiled, its sugars are converted into lactic acid by bacteria. This lactic acid pickles the pasture and helps preserve it for much longer than if you had left it out in the open. Remember, it is impossible to produce high quality silage from low quality pasture, no matter how good the fermentation is. The quality of the ensiled pasture and the quality of fermentation are equally important.
The TopFodder 'Successful Silage' manual has detailed information on the basic principles and practicalities of producing silage in Australia, from growing and harvesting the parent forage to storing and feeding the silage to dairy cows.
Click on the relevant chapter below to view contents of the manual in pdf format:
Contents and introduction
Chapter 1. Silage in the farming system
Chapter 2. Principles of silage preservation
Chapter 3. Silage as a pasture management tool
Chapter 4. Silage from pastures and forage crops
Chapter 5. Crops and by-products for silage
Chapter 6. Mowing and wilting pastures and crops
Chapter 7. Silage additives
Chapter 8. Harvesting silage
Chapter 9. Silage storage
Chapter 10. Feeding silage
Chapter 11. Assessing the economics of silage production
Chapter 12. Feed testing: Assessing silage quality
Chapter 13. Feeding silage to dairy cows, and processing prior to feeding