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Fantastic silage results from farmers using Advance+ province wide

Crawford Silage

For 25 years farmers across Northern Ireland have trusted Provita’s silage inoculants to ensure the best possible silage quality. Advance+ is the only inoculant made in Northern Ireland and it’s designed to produce excellent results in the wildly varying conditions we experience here.

 

Its strains have been tested through the EU registration system plus it has been tested on farm in mini-silo and split-silo tests.

 

“We’ve tested it on farm from 18% to 60% dry matter, from 0.7% to 9% sugars on grass wholecrop and maize. Provided good management is also practiced its use results in better fermentation, stability and predicted animal performance,” commented Tommy Armstrong.

“Our unique combination of a lactic acid and acetic acid bacteria at 1.2 million cfu per g of grass is a high specification but provides our farmers with the confidence to use from very wet to very dry conditions.”

 

Examples of leading farmers who have seen the benefits of Advance+ take up the story.

 

Jim and Dean Wright from Portadown, have used Provita Advance+ since its launch in 2013. They have targeted more milk from forage as an essential performance target.

 

For the past number of years Dean has used Provita’s Advance+ inoculant on all his silage crops, including wholecrop. But it was only when he had the opportunity of taking part in a mini silo test, that he actually got a very clear idea of just how effective the product can be.

“The samples were taken from the same part of a particular field,” Dean explained.

“In that way the grass samples were as identical as they could possibly be.”

“The silos were sealed and then opened at the beginning of December. Provita co-ordinated the analysis of both forages.  The difference in the quality of the two silages was more than significant. The treated forage was superior on all counts,” concluded Dean.

 

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.

“We are on target to get a first cut into the silo around May 28th this year. The equivalent date last year was May 29th,” he said.

Nathan uses local contractor Kyle Farlow to put in the two silage crops. The grass is cut, wilted for 24 hours and then lifted using a precision chop harvester. He has consistently used the inoculant Advance+, from Provita, since going out on his own.

“I took the decision for two reasons,” he explained.

“The product helps drive intakes and the amount of waste at both the silo face and the feed barrier is almost non-existent.

“Improved forage intakes help drive milk production while, at the same time reducing my reliance on expensive concentrates.”

Nathan added:

“The reduction in wastage is enough to make the investment in Advance+ more than worthwhile. So the fact that it is also driving forage intakes really is the icing on the cake.”

The analysis results from Nathan’s first cut silage crop last year is proof positive of the significant impact which Advance+ has on silage quality.

“The ME Value came in at 12.1% while digestibility was 72.3% with overall fermentation quality classified as excellent.  These figures speak for themselves.

“Last year I used Advance+ on the first cut but not the second, the first cut kept much better. This was good evidence that it was working well so I’ll be using it on all cuts in the future.”

 

Father and son team Kenneth and James McIlroy from Garvagh are milking 130, mainly British Friesian and Fleckvieh cows, and keeping bull calves on to sell as stores or beef.

 

“Our main aim is to have long lasting easy to manage cows that give excellent milk solids, good yields and supply calves to the beef side of the farm. Having a supply of beef animals to sell was very useful during the recent downturn in milk price,” Kenneth noted.

 

“Having other enterprises is an important part of our plans to help deal with volatility in the milk price”

 

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

 

“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.”

 

“To answer the question, if you want to get the maximum milk and beef from your grass then yes you need to be using a silage inoculant and based on our tests so far the best product to do this is Provita Advance+,” commented Kenneth.

 

“We have compared most of the leading silage inoculant brands over the last 3 years. The most consistent finding is that the Provita Advance+ inoculant keeps coming out with the best results even against more expensive products and against untreated; it gave up to 3 litres more milk on a grass based system,”  concluded James.

 

Given his herds 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 the 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%.”

Cyril added:

“The cows are currently fed a TMR comprising a mix of first and second cut silages, straw and a blend, which is fed at a rate of 5kg per head.

“The cows are topped up to yield with nuts in parlour. Currently, the herd is averaging 31L per cow per day.

Cyril takes three cuts of silage per year. The first two are ensiled in different clamps with the third cut normally made into bales.

“Last year we took a first cut on May 20th with the subsequent cuts taken in mid-July and then late September. Depending on the weather, third cut can happen in early October.

“All first cut ground receives 2,000g of slurry as early in the season as possible. This is topped up with a compound, which contains sulphur. This approach ensures that protein levels in the silage are maximised.

Cyril confirmed that all his first cut ground has been sown with bagged fertiliser

“We use a contractor for all the silage making operations,” he said.

“It’s an approach that takes the pressure off everyone involved with the farm.  The grass is cut and then allowed to wilt for 24 hours in the field. It is lifted using a self-propelled forage harvester.

Cyril now specifies a two inch chop length for the ensiled crop.

“This ensures that the cows can chew their cuds effectively. Since making that decision we have had no problems with displaced stomachs.

“I also ensure that the clamp is rolled regularly by the contractor throughout the silage -making operation. This means that I have only to give the surface of the clamp a final light roll, after which two black covers are put in place.”

It is a rule on the farm that first and second cut silages are never made in the one clamp.

“In the first instance I do not like the idea of opening up an existing clamp just to put more fresh forage in,” said Jim.

“If the fresh grass happens to be very wet, then effluent can flow down the profile of the previously made silage and gather at the bottom of the clamp. This process can quite easily reduce the quality of the silage that had previously been made, hence my decision to use separate clamps entirely for the first and second cuts.”

Cyril’s commitment to make forages of the highest quality is fully reflected in the analysis results generated by his 2016 silages. The first cut had a digestibility value in excess of 70, an ME of 11.5 and a protein vale of 15%. His second cut had an ME of 10.7 and a protein figure of 15%.

“Last year was challenging enough from a silage making perspective,” said Cyril.

“The first cut had dry matter percentage of 24%. But with second cut, the figure was up at 35%.”

Cyril is happy to attribute his commitment to using Provita’s Advance+ inoculant as a significant factor in allowing him make high quality silages.

“We have been using the product for the past 20 years,” he said.

“It gets the pH within the clamp down very quickly. But it’s at feeding out that I see the real benefit of the product.

“We never get secondary fermentation on the face of the silage clamp. Our first cut silo is very wide. But even with this we never see any deterioration in the quality of the silage that is going into the feeder wagon.

“Another key benefit is the zero losses of forage at the surface and shoulders of the clamp. Again, I put this down to the effect of the inoculant.”

Provita’s Tommy Armstrong was a recent visitor to the Maxwell farm. He confirmed the benefits of Advance + both in terms of helping to make high quality silage and maximising forage availability at feed out.

“The inoculant has been specifically formulated to provide maximum effect with the grasses grown in Northern Ireland and our unpredictable climate.

“It will act to ensure that forage quality is maximised in the clamp and, furthermore, that optimal stability levels are secured once the forage is exposed to the air.

“Large number of farmers across Northern Ireland have found that Advance + will act to ensure almost zero losses of forage within a clamp.

“But, obviously, all other aspects of clamp management that must be up to the required standard throughout the entire silage making process”

Provita Advance+ is the only silage inoculant manufactured in Northern Ireland to EFSA, UFAS and feed standards. It contains three unique strains at a 1.2 million bacteria per g of forage and produces lactic and acetic acid to improve fermentation and stability. This results in better animal performance and less waste.

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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