There was hardly a farm that didn’t get some silage harvested last week, be it a two-acre paddock or a two-hundred-acre block for the pit.

Credit where credit is due, contractors put in an all-merciful shift to get customers sorted, with the weather playing ball for the most part.

As is normal for the time of the year, growth has dipped after the peak in May. This is usually stemmed by some drier soils coming under some moisture stress, along with the impact of a large percentage of first cut being harvested.

However, growth failed to peak to the normal levels we would expect in May, meaning the dip in growth is a more significant dip than we would be accustomed to.


This colder weather seems to also be causing some stressing in grasses, as several farmers have reported that low covers (1,200kg to 1,400kg DM/ha) have been stemming out on them, even with ample N applied.

The first response should be to bring fertiliser applications up to date. Any ground that hasn’t received fertiliser in the last three weeks should get 20 to 22 units N/acre spread on them. This will boost what growth there is, as well as helping to limit the occurrence of stem from nutritional stressing.

The second thing to do is to ease back on corrective action. Baling out stemmy covers is a no-no for many, owing to the low average farm covers a lot of people are witnessing, while topping will impact the recovery of swards.

Pre-mowing of covers is preferential in this case, which will lead to a reduced impact on recovery rates and less wastage of grass.

Even with this, you shouldn’t try to pre-mow the whole farm for this round. Corrective action should be limited to the worst offending paddocks and those with some stem in them can either be topped or pre-mowed or possibly baled out in the next round, if growth recovers.


The cooler and damper conditions make it ideal to get slurry back out on to ground, with reduced ammonia loss.

Target fields that are destined for second cut or that have had surplus bales taken off them; don’t just use the dry field beside the yard that likely got slurry in spring time when everywhere else was swimming wet.

When using LESS, try to ensure that there is some light rain in the forecast to help wash the slurry into the soil, as dry, hot weather can lead to caking. In the case of LESS or splash plates, limit slurry amounts to 2,000 to 2,500 gallons/acre.