All Wales Royal Welsh silage competitions

24 June 2015

The 2015 all Wales clamp and big bale silage competitions run by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society and the Federation of Welsh Grassland Societies, once again saw some top quality silage produced by some of the best silage growers from across Wales.

Silage is key to the production of meat and milk on many Welsh farms, and the competition is the most contested in the industry.

The winner of the clamp competition, sponsored by Wynnstay Group PLC, is Andrew Reed of W O J Reed & Co, Upper Scolton, Spittal, Haverfordwest, Pembroke, a member of the North Pembrokeshire Grassland Society.

The business have a 280 cow dairy herd plus young stock and a pedigree flock of 85 Texel ewes producing breeding rams on their 150ha (370acre) unit 240ft above sea level, with 70% of the farm southerly facing and the rest with a northerly aspect.

170 acres are taken for first cut, 112 as second and 70 acres of third cut. Total ensiled forage yield is 3,980t fresh. First cut taken 13 May. Wilting is 36 hours and an additive is used across all cuts. Mr Reed uses contractors and the operation is complete within two days. The ration fed to the diary herd is 30kg silage, 9.8kg Maize/beet, 8kg blend/cake resulting in an average yield of 8400l/cow.

The runner up was Phil Coker of Mathan Uchaf, Boduan, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, member of the South Caernarfon Grassland Society.

Lead judge Mr John Evans said “It is very gratifying to see so much good silage being made under sometimes difficult conditions.  It is equally gratifying to see these silages being well stored and utilised.  As would be expected from a National Competition the standard was once again very high and there were many examples of very good practice.  Well done to all the competitors, and thanks to all the others who competed in the other rounds and made this competition possible”

The winner of the big bale competition, sponsored by BPI Agriculture (Silotite), was Mr Huw Davies of Plaindealings, Hayscastle, Haverfordwest, Pembroke, member of the North Pembrokeshire Grassland Society.

The farm consists of 230 acres at 78m above sea level with a 170 milking herd plus 85 young stock and heifers.  Silage is cut in May, June and September, totalling 120acres, 70 acres and 50 acres respectively. The grass mixtures used are PRAG High D or Barenburg Cut/Graze. A mower conditioner is used and crop is wilted for 48hrs before baled with a Fusion baler. Along with the silage and concentrates, fodder beet is added to complete the diet. 

Judge, Dr Davies said “The winner makes all his silage in bales and has been doing so for over a decade now. He finds that this gives him more control and more options to make and mix silages of different qualities to meet the various nutritional needs of the milking and dry cows on his farm.  His storage and utilization of silage was very impressive”. 

The runner-up was Marc Jones of Trefnant Hall, Berriew, Welshpool, Powys, a member of Lower Severn Grassland Society.

The All Wales Big Bale competition is becoming a very challenging competition to win. The three judges Mrs Kate Collett BPI, Messrs Evans 2013-2014 winners and Dr Dave Davies of Silage Solutions agreed that his year’s competition challenged them more than usual. “Not because of the outstanding standard of silages but because of the range of farming enterprises visited; with a dominance being dairy related enterprises rather than the usual sheep and beef enterprises.”