A FARMING firm has launched a new service to help livestock farmers get the most nutritional value from their grassland. 

Mole Valley Farmers has announced the launch of a holistic Soil-to-Silage service, which is available to members, shareholders and customers.

The service records grassland inputs and quality and is focused on the journey from soil to silage. 

It includes: 

  • Soil health advice and environmental management
  • Regular crop inspections to assess the performance of the grassland and forage crops, as well as monitoring for pests, weeds and disease
  • Nutrition management, understanding what nutrition is readily available on farm
  • Harvest management- using feedback on previous year's data so that harvest can be fine-tuned to optimise yields and quality to optimise the feed value
  • Understanding the nutritional value of the crop and its part in the diet
  • Identifying low-yielding fields and outlining how improvements can be made
  • Crop costings

Lisa Hambly, head of grassland and forage at the business, said a key part of the service is the link to animal nutrition and how the grass and forage crops influences that.

She said: "What we grow in the field has to provide the best nutritional outcome for the animal. We can only fully understand that by looking at the whole farming system.

"This service not only helps address imbalances in the soil and targets crop nutrition, but it also looks at how the silage in the clamp feeds out and where changes can be made.

"Mole Valley Farmers is involved throughout the whole process, with specialist systems behind us to support every step."

To help farmers determine crop yeilds and quality, Mole Valley uses Omega Crop. This looks at grass growth crop modelling, weather and satellite data to predict current grass covers and quality. It can forecast growth without having to walk the fields and measure by hand. 

The data can then be used to to target correct grazing dates and identify fields that aren't performing. This allows for further investigative work to take place to determine the problem and then work towards a solution to correct those lower yields.

Mole Valley also has a dedicated Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) specifically for livestock farms to help target grassland nutrients, boost productivity and maximise profitability.

This provides farmers with information on current soil nutrition using soil samples, the nutrient requirements of different crops required to grow specific yields and the nutrients available on the farm already from slurry and farmyard manure (FYM)- using up-to-date samples.

Ms Hambly added: "Often the focus is on producing the best crop but isn't linked to how well that crop feeds the animals, which is fundamentally important. This service will factor in data such as daily live weight gains and days to slaughter to determine how well the grass performs.

"We will also analyse slurry to check key elements, such as the level of nitrogen, to give us an understanding of how well the diet is being utilised and how we can fine tune it."

There is a cost for some of the tools used within the service, such as Omega Crop, soil testing and Nutrient Management Plans, but the tailored advice from both the agronomy and nutritionist teams is provided as part of the service.

For further information call the Grassland & Forage Line on 01769 576232.