Late spring puts first cut silage date back on Co Down suckler beef and sheep farm

Co Down suckler beef producer Sam Chesney has used Provita Advance+ silage inoculant for 30 years!  Co Down suckler beef producer Sam Chesney reckons he will be making first cut silage two, or possibly three weeks, later than would normally be the case. And this is a direct consequence of the late spring and the … Read more

Advance+ Silage inoculant – the perfect choice for Northern Ireland

At this time of year farmers are bombarded with information on silage inoculants. With so much variation between years and cuts, it’s very difficult to compare silage inoculants or even treated verses untreated crops. Many products claim to be better than the next one, so how can they actually be compared?


It is advisable to check the bacterial strains are EU approved.  The EU registration system has standard parameters to measure efficacy such as dry matter losses, pH, lactic acid and ammonia plus stability for wholecrop and maize silages.  Parameter testing shows efficacy on easy, moderate and difficult to ensile crops. Some of the inoculants, in particular the ones that only apply 100,000 bacteria per g of grass, failed to show a benefit in moderate and difficult to ensile crops.


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Better silage improves herd performance

Ryan McMullan runs 60 Holstein cows in Carnlough, Co Antrim. They are currently yielding 8000L on 46kg silage mixed 50:50 1st and 2nd cut plus 5kg in wagon and rest of meal topped in parlour to yield.  A few years ago he decided that he needed to improve silage quality in order to improve herd performance.

The first aim was to cut silage earlier; however with heavy land this can be difficult. The silage ground gets 4000 gallon per acre, this year it was put on with his umbilical slurry system, which has been invaluable. Next only 60 units of N is applied for the first cut in early April, this means silage can be cut from early May, second cut get 2 bags per acre of 27.4.4 plus sulphur and it was cut third week of June, third cut was delayed until September . Again mowing and ensiling is done by Ryan’s machines. It is mowed with a mower-spreader, gets a 24 hour wilt weather permitting, rowed up and then ensiled with a trailed harvester, aiming for a DM of 28% to 32%.

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Advance+ inoculant dual benefits on Fivemiletown dairy farm

Nathan Hall combines his job at Fane Valley Stores’ operation in Augher with milking 55 spring calving dairy cows. He started up the dairying business as a new entrant five years ago. The Fivemiletown man is committed to maximising milk output from grass and forage.

 “The cows are currently averaging 7,000L and there is scope to expand the herd over the coming years,” he said.

Optimising output from grazed grass and silage are equally important for Nathan. He normally takes two cuts of silage annually.

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Silage Inoculant Applicator Deals Available

Provita can provide farmers and contractors with the means to apply Advance+ silage inoculant accurately on all types of silage making machines. Cab controlled non-blocking powder, standard liquid, digitally controlled liquid and ultra-low volume systems are available. These can fit self-propelled machines, trailed harvesters, balers and silage wagons. Competitive deals are available when using these machines along with Provita Advance+. 

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Advance + delivering optimal silage quality and almost zero forage losses on Tyrone dairy farm

Given his herd’s predominantly autumn/winter calving pattern, making good silage is an absolute priority for Co Tyrone dairy farmer Cyril Maxwell. The Augher man is currently milking 130 cows, averaging 8,300L over 305 days

“The cows calve between October and April,” he confirmed.

“The aim is to produce maximum levels of high quality milk from forage. This includes silage and grazed grass. The cows are currently receiving 2½t of concentrate per lactation.

“Our current milk quality is good with butterfats averaging 4.23% and proteins 3.15%.”

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Farmer doing mini-silo tests on his own farm

“As a contractor and farmer I regularly get asked what use a silage inoculant is, or do I need one?” commented Kenneth McIlory.

“A few years ago we saw the idea of using a mini-silo promoted by Provita for testing silage on farm. We were interested in trying the idea for our own curiosity and to be able to honestly answer other farmers.”

“The tests were very easy to do and the results were interesting, my son James and I farm together and he organised it.”

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Fantastic silage results

Co Armagh dairy farmer Dean Wright is confirming a tremendous start to the 2015 silage season.

“We took a first cut during Balmoral Show week with the second following at the beginning of July,” he said.

“And we are delighted with the results achieved to date. The analysis of the first cut confirmed a dry matter 27%, an ME value of 11.5 a 70D value and an intake value of 99, plus good yields were achieved.

“The grass was wilted in the field for 24 hours.”

Dean points out that these analysis results were obtained prior to the second cut being taken.

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Better preservation of crops

Mixed weather has coincided with the start of the second cut silage season.

“Those crops that have been taken are light, but quality is excellent,” explained Provita’s Tommy Armstrong.

“Higher dry mater forages are harder to compact. Under such circumstances regular rolling as the crop goes into the clamp is crucially important, as is the use of a lactic and acetic acid inoculant, such as Advance+. Its use will reduce heating in clamps at feedout, secondary fermentation, mould and yeasts. This will help maintain feeding values and reduce waste once clamps are opened.”

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What a difference a day makes

Farmers are being advised not to over wilt grass prior to ensiling during the current dry spell. Grass samples taken by Provita directly after cutting this week, and thereafter, following an 18 hour, 24 hour and 48 hour wilt have confirmed that dry matter values can increase dramatically if grass is left to wilt beyond a 24 hour period.

“Freshly cut grass samples had average dry maters of between 18 and 20%”, confirmed Provita’s Tommy Armstrong.

“This rose to a figure in the mid-twenties after a 24 hour wilt, and rose again to 40% when grass was left in the field for a further day.”

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