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 The importance of forage quality 
  
  
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 High Energy and High Nutrient Content
 High Palatability
 Minimum Level of Impurities
 Minimum Spoilage

How to achieve…

 


Some aspects have already been mentioned above. But let´s go into more detail about what needs to be taken into account in order to achieve high energy and nutrient content in your forage.


Optimal composition of the plant population


The first step is to establish and maintain a crop. The composition should be adapted to the conditions and production target. Whether the forage is intended for dairy cows and harvested on intensively managed perennial grasslands, or for sheep and beef cattle harvested from extensive perennial grasslands, it is important to consider both perennial and non-perennial grasses. Dependent on the climate and soil composition, certain species of plant will have a more successful establishment than others.

Official recommendations state that a high proportion of perennial grass is important (up to 80 %). Performing species for meadows and pastures ensure high and reliable yields, tight grass stubbles and a good fermentation for silage making. Furthermore, legumes and herbs must not be forgotten, as they increase the crop protein and mineral content. Thus contributing to an enhanced forage quality.



Cut at the right time


In order to avoid energy losses, forage should be cut at a young maturity stage. The right timing is especially important for the first cut, as the process of lignification acts quickly at this stage of the season.

Recommendations differ according to the intended purpose (high-performance milk cows, leisure horses, etc.). The following principle may serve as a common guideline to produce energy-rich and well-digestible forage: Cut as soon as ears or panicles emerge on the dominating plant species.







Productive harvest chain

A productive harvest chain ensures that you make the most of tight weather windows. This is essential for an above-average forage quality. It is also a precondition for achieving the aim of producing silage in less than 24 hours.

The field retention time should be as short as possible. This minimizes unavoidable respiration which is often a reason for sugar and dry matter losses. Especially important as declining sugar contents can jeopardize the whole silage making process as it increases the danger of an undesirable fermentation and unstable silage.

For a productive harvest chain, all machines have to be adapted to each other. This means that the size of the tedder, rake and forage harvester must correspond to the mower. The right balance is crucial, ensuring that forage which is already too dry for proper silage making isn’t harvested.







Download the KUHN ForageXpert application

For a powerful forage harvesting chain.

This tool enables you to optimize the forage harvest according to your current or future equipment. Find the mower, mower-conditioner, tedder and rake that are best adapted to your needs.



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