A Wet Harvest

There are two critical issues, and damaging effects, from wet paddocks and possible higher moisture silage. 1) Compaction of soils, 2) Quality loss in silage due to adverse conditions.

Early this year we purchased a Penetrometer to assess how much soil compaction we had on our clients typical grazing dairy farms. Although results were very variable, there certainly was ample evidence of serious soil compaction on many farms. In conjunction with a colleague in the USA who specialises in crop rotations to improve soil productivity, we have been advocating crop systems to this goal, and to increase dry matter harvested from existing farms.

Our soil compaction problems arise from farm practices of the last fifty years including stocking rates, weight of machinery, and a lack of cropping options in favour of monoculture pasture stands. The loss of clovers from our pastures has had significant effect on compaction due to the lack of clover’s deep rooting. Cropping rotations leave dead root matter in soils breaking down to organic matter, a critical element for soil life.

Mechanical compaction takes seconds to do, but decades to recover. If repeated mechanical compaction occurs with machinery, soil life is severely restricted, reduces yields, and likely will never recover. Permanent yield reduction. For those who wish to pursue more on this problem, go to the follow link. https://www.realagriculture.com/2017/09/innovative-farmers-take-action-on-compaction/

Threats to silage in wet conditions The first risk due to moisture and stress, is moulds and mycotoxins. Refer to our previous post. With sunlight, plant sugars rise rapidly, and the use of a quality silage inoculant is sound management under perfect conditions, but in wet conditions not to use inoculant will allow wild (’natural’) bacteria to do your fermenting rather than controlled fermentation achieved by a quality lactic acid bacterial inoculant. Nobody sows ‘natural’ seed and expects a pure ryegrass pasture.

Trial work conducted by Tom Kilcer (Advanced Ag Systems – Cornell University), control silage (no inoculant) had higher lignin (indigestible) than treatment silages. This indicated the control silage suffered considerable more dry matter converted to CO2 and water and so was lost. Mike Van Amburg (Cornell University) reported from trial work at Cornell, that inoculated silages had significantly higher net energy and digestibility rates than uninoculated silages. From digestibility alone, this equates to over 1 litre of milk.

Dr Limin Kung, world authority on inoculant use, although referring to corn silage, but relevant also for grass silage said: “For a wet crop, a homolactic is better…do not use Lactobacillus Buccneri on a very wet corn silage crop – or the odds that you will get an inversion of lactic to acetic (more acetic than lactic) is high. Wet corn silage fermentations will make a lot of acid, and a lot of wild acetic. This may cause issues at feed out.”

There is also a high risk of mud contamination of silage. Mud can contain high levels of clostridia bacteria and produce a failed fermentation breaking down dry matter, often to little more than compost.

PASTURE GOLDTM Bacterial Silage Inoculant

PASTURE GOLD silage inoculant is available in granular form for application via Gandy Granular Applicators, or water soluble form. PASTURE GOLD contains two EU registered LAB bacteria plus a preservative bacteria and an enzyme pack for increased digestibility.

PASTURE GOLD is available directly from Dairytech Nutrition or at the following Rural Stores

South West Vic 

Alansford Acme Rural Supplies

Colac The Co-op Colac

Noorat Mt Noorat Farm Supplies

Simpson E & RA Parlours & CO

Terang Scanlon’s Dairy Centre and Terang Co-op


Leongatha Brown’s Stockfeed

Lang Lang Larmax Agribarn

Poowong Poowong Dairy & Hardware

Drouin Evison Grain & Produce

Yarragon Yarragon Rural Supplies

Northern Victoria

Cohuna J & R Cooke Trading P/L

Echuca Kober Ag Intellegence

Kyabram Dunstall Rural Supplies

Girgarre Dunstall Rural Supplies

Leitchville Lipps Leitchville

Tongala GTS Farm Supplies



If there is no rural store stockist near you, call Dairtytech Nutrition 0400 991 814



John Lyne

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