At IAS Labs, we provide a range of silage analysis from pre-cut to post preservation grass analysis. As grass silage is by far the most popular source of feed for farmers during the winter months, it is important that farmers know the nutritional value of the silage they are feeding to ensure livestock keep up high levels of production and profitability during this period.
Our silage analysis give farmers all the most important nutritional information they need to make informed decisions around winter feeding. It details the quality of feeding characteristics such as digestibility and protein content and will also notify of any mineral deficiencies found including copper, iodine, selenium and cobalt.
Our pre-cut silage tests analyse the grass sample for sugars and nitrates, while our grass silage analysis reveals practical feeding Information. dry matter, pH, ammonia, protein, ME and DMD.
Pre-Cut Silage Analysis
Our pre-cut silage tests analyse the grass sample for sugars and nitrates. 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.
Grass Silage analysis
Our grass silage analysis test for a broad spectrum of minerals along with the determining the nutritional value of the silage. It will provide results back on dry matter, pH, ammonia, protein, ME and DMD. Utilising an accurate silage test will allow farmers to supplement animals with the appropriate rate of concentrates to meet the animal’s dietary requirements and subsequent performance targets. Feeding concentrates can be costly and therefore the level meal being fed to livestock should be determined by the quality of the silage being fed so they complement each other.
At IAS Labs we provide silage evaluations for famers all over Ireland and sample kits can be ordered here.
When providing a silage sample for analysis, it is important to follow the correct method of taking a portion to get the most accurate results. Our guidelines can be found here