Co Armagh milk producer and beef farmer Dean Wright will grow approximately 40-45 acres of wholecrop each year. The main purpose of this crop is to utilise the reseeded sward the following years, but in saying that, the wholecrop silage is maximised fully, like everything on this farm.
‘I have always found wholecrop to be a good yielding, healthy crop; with plenty of energy and very useful for balancing feed rations.’ The wholecrop is fed to all groups on the farm with Dean pointing out, ‘it is great feeding for beef cattle.’
This year both winter oat and winter wheat wholecrops grown, with the former due for harvest the week beginning 9th July 2018.
Dean explains, “The winter oat wholecrops was somewhat of an afterthought due to the wet autumn and delay in planting. Rather than leave this land lying wasted all winter, I managed to get about 20 acres of winter oats planted and to be honest I am pleased how they have turned out. I expect a good yield from them.”
As wholecrop is relatively high in dry matter, it is prone to aerobic spoilage during storage and feedout. Any spoilage at these times will result in loss of energy and wastage, which is something Dean Wright, is very keen to avoid. This is why he has used Provita Advance+ silage inoculant containing both lactic and acetic acid producing bacteria to produce effective fermentation and reduce heating and spoilage respectively. All of these qualities were visible at the face of the 2017 wholecrop wheat silo when George Shaw visited the farm last week, with him recognising that it was a “healthy colour and smell, with no visible spoilage and minimal heating at the surface.”
Dean has used Provita Advance+ silage additive for the last 4 years having previously used a specific wholecrop additive.
“It was out of curiosity that I used Provita Advance+ on the wholecrop, which I had already used for a few years on our grass. The results were very pleasing as the wholecrop fermented well and there was very little spoilage. I would say it did as good as job as the wholecrop inoculant I had used and Advance+ was less expensive. When I compared my wholecrop that year to a neighbour who had used a wholecrop specific inoculant, I could see no difference. Therefore I could not justify paying a higher price and have stuck with Advance+ since then.’
Dean has already used Advance+ on 2 cuts of grass silage this year in May and June 2018, and is well on his way to making 4 quality pits of silage with the addition of Advance+.
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