How long will your forage last?

It doesn’t look like the ground is going to dry up round here for a month or so yet, which means that the prospects of an early turnout for our cows have pretty much vanished. Meanwhile silage stocks are getting tighter and I am keeping a close eye on what we use and being very careful not to waste any feed.

I came across a really useful graph on the GP Feeds website this morning, which explains not only how to measure the volume of silage left in the clamp but, also, the typical weight per cubic meter at varying levels of dry matter. Take a look via the following link to make sure you aren’t just guessing what you have left – www.gpfeeds.co.uk/archive/silage_stocks.htm.

In order to assess how long your stocks will last you also need to know how much you are feeding each day. I have put together a simple calculator that will enable you to get some idea of when those precious forage stocks will run out. To calculate how long your forage stocks will last, using the calculator, you will need to know the following:

  • Today’s date
  • Clamp dimensions (width, height and length)
  • Silage density (kg / cubic metre) – see GP Feeds website via above link
  • The amount of each silage fed every day to each group of cows

Below is an example to show how the forage stocks calculator works. Note that the figures in red are the fields you need to enter in the calculator. To use the calculator to calculate your own forage stocks follow this link to download it to your computer – Forage Stock Calculator.

 

FORAGE STOCKS CALCULATOR

TODAY’S DATE (dd/mm/yyyy)

07/02/2013

CURRENT STOCKS

Clamp Dimensions

Volume

Density

Total

Silage Name

Width

Height

Length

Cu M

Kg / Cu M

Tonnes

1st Cut Silage

15

2.6

5.5

214.5

550

118

2nd Cut Silage

15

3.0

3.2

144.0

500

72

Maize Silage

15

2.8

5.8

243.6

740

180

Wholecrop Silage

15

2.5

6.3

236.3

700

165

DAILY FEEDING

High

Low

Dry

Young

Kg

Tonnes

Silage Name

Yielders

Yielders

Cows

Stock

per Day

per Day

1st Cut Silage (kg)

840

425

0

0

1265

1.3

2nd Cut Silage (kg)

0

900

750

1750

3400

3.4

Maize Silage (kg)

3150

1850

0

1200

6200

6.2

Wholecrop Silage (kg)

500

900

0

0

1400

1.4

FEED BUDGET

Tonnes in

Tonnes

Days

Stocks

Silage Name

Stock

Fed Daily

Remaining

End Date

1st Cut Silage

118

1.3

93

11/05/2013

2nd Cut Silage

72

3.4

21

28/02/2013

Maize Silage

180

6.2

29

08/03/2013

Wholecrop Silage

165

1.4

118

05/06/2013

It can be seen from the forage stocks calculator above that at current levels of feeding 2nd Cut Silage will run out within a matter of weeks. If we are aware of this now, adjustments to cow rations can be made to stretch stocks or, if all forages are running low, the amount of additional forage required can be calculated. This enables us to make decisions now rather than wait until we reach crisis point.

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