Pre-Cut Silage Test
The sugar content of grass is critically important for the process of ensiling. Grass sugars are converted into Lactic Acid which subsequently lowers the pH to about 4 where it stabilises. The higher the sugar levels at cutting, the better the preservation.
High nitrate levels make it more difficult for stable preservation to occur. This is often the consequence of heavy applications of nitrogen fertiliser and not allowing enough time for the nitrogen to be utilised fully by the crop. A crop of grass silage will typically use 2 units of nitrogen/acre/day, provided that growing conditions are suitable.
Sugar levels before cutting should be 3% or higher. Nitrate levels should ideally be no higher than 300ppm. If a sample is showing high in nitrates, advice is generally to wait for a few days for levels to drop. If nitrates are high and sugars are below 3% it is advisable to delay harvest until sugar levels have risen.
If the grass is at the right stage, to delay cutting may result in a loss of DMD (digestibility).
Grass can be cut if sugar levels are 3% or higher.
Crop Tissue Testing
A soil test will indicate what nutrients are available to a growing crop, but a plant tissue analysis will identify a “hidden-hunger”. Crop tissue analysis helps farmers accurately measure a crop’s current nutritional analysis. Reasons for carrying out plant tissue analysis include:
• Identifying nutrient deficiency, toxicity or imbalances.
• Forecasting potential deficiencies in current or future crops.
• Anticipating the need for various essential nutrients at critical growth stages.
• Identifying nutrient uptake in order to determine the cost-effectiveness of current and future fertiliser applications.
An IAS Crop Tissue Scan includes:
Yeast and Mould Counts
IAS provide a 5 working day turnaround of results, therefore allowing you to carry out any necessary fertiliser or trace element applications in a timely manner.