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Silage Quality This Winter

grass swathes

As the majority of herds are partially housing cows and buffering quite heavily, we have had the opportunity to open clamps and hopefully come up with a plan for the winter. Many of you will have probably cast your eye across the silage results that have been printed in the national press over the last few months and even had a chance to sit down and compare your silages to the published figures.

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Silages a view from the field

silage farm

Averages paint a very black and white picture. Unfortunately rarely is life that simple and so it would appear that this year is looking trickier than the averages suggest. There will be some fundamental pressure put on cows for anyone out grazing day and night now and over the last month, and to a certain degree even those out days. Grazing is poor in general and so most herds will have lost 2 litres on average meaning fresh and peak cows are probably 5 litres off already. Not a great start.

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All Hot and Bothered …

cows in field

With temperatures soaring recently in to the mid 30’s it fuelled much conversation about ventilation and particularly fans. With a lot of farm opinion seeming to hinge around it being good just to “move the air about a bit” I thought it was a good time to discuss heat stress, before you spend your hard earned and regret it.

This is the temperature and humidity index (THI) that tells us from ongoing research when cows suffer heat stress. It is altering as our understanding of cows continues to grow, for example at 32 °C and 45-95% humidity, moderate to severe heat stress occurs, rising to severe stress the closer it gets to 100% humidity. 

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