Second-cut silage will be finishing up on most cattle farms. With the pit filled and bales stacked, there is one more job to complete regarding winter fodder.

Take an hour to work out how much fodder is now on farm and whether it will last the upcoming winter period or not.

If there is a shortage, there is time to close off an area for a third cut of bales or reduce demand before housing.


A fodder budget can be carried out online here.

Alternatively, do it manually by measuring the length, width and average height of the clamp in metres. Multiply the three measurements to get cubic capacity.

To convert to a tonnage in freshweight, multiply by 0.6 for silage at 30% dry matter.

Count up all round bales and multiply by 0.85 to get the tonnage, then add to the pit silage. Both figures combined is the tonnage of silage on farm.

Cattle demand

Next, work out how much forage cattle will eat over a typical winter on farm.

Dry spring-calving cows will eat close on 1t of silage every month. A lactating cow will eat closer to 1.5t/month.

Weanlings and light stores are likely to eat around 0.6t to 0.75t/month. Add in an extra month for safety against early housing or a late spring turnout.


If fodder stocks exceed cattle demand, there is enough forage on farm to last until turnout.

But if demand exceeds fodder reserves, then take steps to make up the shortfall.

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