High-quality silage forms the basis for successful, profitable milk production, and timing the first cut right is essential in this context. Ideally, the silage produced will have a maximum of 240 g crude fibre per kg dry matter.
Many years of experience have shown that grassland reaches harvest maturity between the 30th (early ley) and 45th day (late maturing grasses) after a corrected accumulated temperature for grassland of 200 degrees has been reached. Growth height can also be used as an indicator for harvest maturity, as grass can be considered mature enough for cutting at a height of 25 to 40 cm.
A delayed first cut results in nutrient losses and thus poorer silage quality. This in turn causes lower feed intake and therefore reduces milk production.
The interval between the first two cuts should be no more than 20 to 25 days. This interval is often left too long, resulting in silages with crude fibre contents in excess of 240 g per kg DM being brought in.
Read more of our tips for successful silage to optimise your silage management.
Accumulated temperature for grassland
The accumulated temperature for grassland is a parameter used in Central Europe for determining when to start work in the fields after winter. It is calculated by collecting, correcting* and adding up all positive daytime temperature averages from the beginning of the year. Once the total exceeds 200 degrees, the vegetation cycle has definitively started for the year.
*January temperatures are multiplied by a factor of 0.5 and February temperatures by a factor of 0.75. The full daily average is only used from March onwards.
The accumulated temperature for grassland for your region is easily available online from various meteorological services.