An event to be held at Tŷ Mawr Organic Farm, Pont Llyfni, Caernarfon, on 16 November will be an opportunity for farmers to find out more about silage analyses and feeding options for the winter. It is being organized by Organic Centre Wales as part of the Farming Connect Organic Development Programme and is suitable for all farmers.
Deio Hughes has been farming organically at Tŷ Mawr for a number of years. He runs an Aberdeen Angus herd and Beulah flock and outwinters many of his stock, but also grows an arable silage mix, red clover and some brassicas.
Another wet summer has resulted in disappointing silage, with analyses showing that many silages in upland areas are poorly fermented and have low feed value. As the price of purchased feed is still high, it is important that energy and protein in the conserved forage that farmers work so hard to get in is used as efficiently as possible.
Silage analysis can help to give a picture of the nutrient level and quality of your forage, but the results are not always easy to interpret. At this event you can find out how silage analysis works, and how to use the results in conjunction with a visual and physical inspection to formulate rations to suit a number of livestock.
Dr Heather McCalman of the Grassland Development Centre, IBERS, one of the speakers at this event, will also talk about the opportunities for including arable crops in your rotations. She said: “Now is a good time to plan your winter feeding and to look ahead to next year's grassland management and forage cropping.”
The other speaker, Dr David Peers of ADAS, will consider the availability and price of organic concentrates and straights. “If silage with a low feed value is not supplemented, stock will not achieve their potential. Fortunately there is a wide choice for organic systems, including blocks, straight feeds, compounds and blends.”
A diet feeder will be on display at the event and there will be an opportunity to discuss the advantages of these machines, which are now much more widely found on beef and sheep farms. The feeder is provided by kind permission of Emyr Evans a'i gwmni Cyf.
The event starts at 1pm, and will include informal presentations, question and answer sessions, and practical demonstrations. It is free, but you should register with Mari Jones on 07791 442498 to ensure a place and check the arrangements.
Notes for editors
1. Organic Centre Wales is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government to provide information on organic food and farming to producers, food businesses, consumers and others. It is based at Aberystwyth University and run by a partnership consisting of the ADAS, the Organic Research Centre Elm Farm, and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University.
2. The Organic Conversion Information Service (01970 622100) is funded by WAG to provide information to producers considering conversion – an information pack and up to three free on-farm visits are available.
3. The Organic Farming Scheme is currently closed.
4. Farming Connect, working closely with its partner organisations, provides one to one support, knowledge, expertise, training and advisory services tailored to the needs of farmers in Wales. Many of these services are fully funded or subsidised and the service is both flexible and accessible. You can register with the Farming Connect Service Centre on 08456 000 813 or contact Farming Connect directly at your nearest WAG Divisional Office. OCW is funded by Farming Connect to deliver the Organic Development Programme.