Better Quality & More Cost Effective Silage for Tirlán Milk Producer

Stephen Miley, his son Eoin, brother Paul & his son Donnacha pictured beside 2024 clamps of silage covered using a Visqueen Agri-S silage cover on top with a Clingseal film underneath to minimise wastage during winter storage.

Better Quality & More Cost Effective Silage for Tirlán Milk Producer

Stephen Miley, along with his wife Maeve and his parents Rosaleen and Myles, operate a 190 -dairy cow herd near Dunlavin in Co. Wicklow. “My brother Paul is also a big help on the farm. We have been increasing herd size in recent years and also do a calf to beef enterprise.” Stephen said.

“We keep a mixture of MountBeliarde and Fleckvich on the farm. The MountBeliarde is the third most popular French dairy cow and renowned for their milk as traditionally the milk is processed into Emmental and Gruyère cheese. The Fleckvieh is a dual purpose breed suitable for both milk and meat production and the most popular breed in Austria. It originated in Central Europe from cross-breeding local stock with Simmental cattle imported from Switzerland.

We keep all calves on the farm, all the replacement heifer calves and beef animals. I’m working off a small milking platform. So, my grazing has to be spot on.

“Last year, my cows averaged 7,000L/cow. Butterfat was 4.2% and milk proteins at 3.5%.We also pasteurise milk for their own use in the family homes. We operate a split calving; 30% autumn and 70% spring-calving. My brother Paul works with me and our parents Rosaleen and Myles also help out on the farm. My son Eoin is really good with the young stock as is Donnacha, Paul’s son.”

The Miley family use a Keenan mixer wagon to feed their cows and cattle. The TMR mix includes top quality grass silage made from Red clover, home grown forage maize, fodder beet, brewer’s grains and straw. According to Stephen “we make 250 acres of silage including 40 acres from forage maize- the DMD rages from 75 to 84 so it is first class. They also use Silo-King silage additive to improve preservation and quality. This season two forage wagons were used to bring in the silage and “we were very happy with the speed of operation” said Paul.

A poor-quality sheet may cause up to 10% loss of quality on your average silage clamp. The success of silage forage will be determined by the seal, resistance, and flexibility of the silage sheet chosen – which is why choosing a high-quality silage sheets is so important. The average amount of waste on a poorly sealed clamp can be up to 8cm on the top and sides, with more than this on the shoulders. This means that the clamp silage wasted in storage could cost up to €4.80m2. On a 16mx50m clamp, this could add up to €3,840 in losses.

According to Stephen Miley “we have been using a Visqueen Agri-S silage cover with a Clingseal film underneath and along the sides for the last five years and both of these are purchased from Quinns of Baltinglass. Clingseal, is a flexible vacuum sheet used directly beneath a traditional, heavier silage sheets. It is thinner and therefore more flexible, allowing it to cling more closely to the contours of the clamp surface and tuck-in more at the sides. This helps eliminate air pockets and provides a close fitting barrier to significantly reduce top and shoulder losses from aerobic spoilage. Paul Miley says “silage is becoming ever more expensive to make so we cannot afford any significant loses in storage. We  started off using the Clingseal film cover on one clamp and were so impressed with the minimal wastage during storage that we have been using it ever since on all our grass and maize silage clamps.”

In addition, because it provides a better air seal, Visqueen Clingseal also facilitates a faster, more efficient fermentation process – delivering enhanced clamp silage quality. It is also easy to apply, and suitable for a variety of ensiled crops, including grass, maize, wholecrop and other moist feeds.

The long life durable and tough Visqueen silage covers also helps to prevent punctures, tears and splits occurring during the clamp sheeting process. On the Miley farm the silage cover is weighed down and has a green secure silage cover net to protect the clamp from bird, rodents and wildlife damage. So investing in a top quality Visqueen silage cover and Clingseal film is a good investment indeed.

Stephen Miley, his son Eoin, brother Paul & his son Donnacha pictured beside 2024 clamps of silage covered using a Visqueen Agri-S silage cover on top with a Clingseal film underneath to minimise wastage during winter storage.
Stephen Miley, his son Eoin, brother Paul & his son Donnacha pictured beside 2024 clamps of silage covered using a Visqueen Agri-S silage cover on top with a Clingseal film underneath to minimise wastage during winter storage.

 

 

 

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