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Silage seminars on the way!

Following the below average 2013 Spring conditions and the dry, scorching hot Summer, many livestock producers are left with depleted stocks of conserved fodder. Even if conserved fodder was not needed for their own herd, many producers sold their hay and silage into the red hot domestic market early this year. With the high prices of fodder and grain supplementation fresh in memory of many producers and sub-optimal stocking rates in some areas, this spring may provide some good opportunities to replenish on-farm stocks of hay and silage.

It is with this in mind that Central Tablelands and Central West Local Land Services are working together to provide producers across the regions with an opportunity to hear from NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Hay and Silage experts – Neil Griffiths and John Piltz in a series of four seminars to be held at Cowra, Forbes, Narromine and Mudgee on the 12th & 13th August.

Senior Land Services Officer's, (Greg Paul, David Trengove, Neroli Brennan, Clare Edwards, Brett Littler and Phil Cranney), from each area will also be presenting information on addressing the feed gaps in farm systems and outlining the animal nutritional requirements of stock during the feed gaps.

"Making spring silage will depend on seasonal conditions that enable a genuine surplus of forage to grow or a major problem in cropping areas such as drought, late frost or hail where silage may be a salvage exercise" stated Neil Griffiths, NSW DPI Technical Specialist Pasture Production, based at Tocal.

Storage and delivery options also need to be considered with these issues addressed throughout the seminars. Mr Griffiths says "The choice of silage method will depend on machinery and contractors available and the relative costs. While bulk chopped silage may be a cheap option, wrapped bales will always incur the cost of plastic and therefore must be of premium feed quality to be profitable".

While a more variable climate may mean more frosts and higher maximum temperatures in spring, Phil Cranney, Senior Land Services Officer for Pastures, based in Cowra, stated "If it turns out there are more occurrences of fine cloudless 48-72 hour blocks in Spring, producers will have an increased opportunity to produce higher quality silage in times of feed surplus".

Similarly, making quality silage could be an option for producers who receive rainfall out of season, when their livestock enterprises are geared for lower dse/ha. For example: this year's above average March rainfall in a spring lambing system provided an opportunity for silage.

To register your interest in attending, or to find out more about the seminars, contact Phil Cranney on 0458 745 478 or phil.cranney@lls.nsw.gov.au

Media contact:          Fiona Townsend 02 6851 9517

Image:                        Round hay bales in the region

Hay bales in Central West region