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Wynnstay Arable & Forage

Should I use an additive for my maize?

Should I Use an Additive for My Maize

When your maize is ensiled at the recommended DM of 32 to 35% there is still enough sugar present for fermentation to achieve a stable low pH.

Maize has a low buffering capacity so the pH falls fast, often to a pH as low as 3.5. Natural fermentation can often result in much higher proportions of acetic acid and ethanol, an indication of a less efficient fermentation which could b

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Maintain Your Maize Focus Through Harvest and Beyond

Maintain Your Maize Focus Through Harvest and Beyond

Remember to maintain your focus on getting the best returns from forage maize crops even after the growing season is over. All too often, it is easy to think that the majority of the attention to detail with maize needs to go into growing the crop, but that's only hald the story. 

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The Benefits of Autumn Reseeding

The Benefits of Autumn Reseeding

If you didn’t look at reseeding last spring, this autumn could be an ideal time to invest in your forage quantity and quality.

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How to Boost Your Nitrogen Fertiliser Use Efficiency

 How to Boost Your Nitrogen Fertiliser Use Efficiency

Improving Nitrogen fertiliser Use Efficiency (NfUE) will be one of the most important ways in which UK growers can improve their business productivity in the future. 

The single most important decision you can make to maximise your NfUE lies in the type of fertiliser you choose in the first place, says CF Fertilisers’ head agronomy Dr. Sajjad Awan. Whilst good management can help finetune the effectiveness of your applications, start with the wrong Nitrogen source and you’ll be locked into lower levels of NfUE with little you can do to lift it, he says.

“NfUE is essentially a measure of how much of the Nitrogen applied ends up in the crop. “In simple terms, if you apply 100kg N/ha and only 50kg N/ha is taken up by your crop, you will have an NfUE of 50% and half of the N you have paid for has gone somewhere other than into your crops as intended “Improving NfUE benefits your crop, your pocket and the wider environment.

Whether you are looking at it from the perspective of clean air, reducing your carbon footprint or increasing production efficiency, loss of N from the cropping system is a major problem.”

Farm trails prove Nitram to be the best choice

Nitram (34.5%N) has proved itself time and time again to be the best choice for achieving optimum NfUEs in the UK’s maritime climate, he says.

“NfUE gains achieved by AN over other forms of solid and liquid Nitrogen used on farm today are typically 10 – 15%.”

But across UK national trials and our own farm trials, fertiliser systems based around Nitram and our AN-based True Granular Compounds can achieve NfUEs of 80% and above compared to the 50 - 60% of many other systems.

“Nitram has half the carbon footprint of other sources of AN and, being British made, it has a shorter and simpler supply chain with significantly less ‘fertiliser miles’ involved as well."

“Another key advantage is that it can be spread reliably and accurately to 36m with recent trials carried out by fertiliser spreader and calibration specialists SCS confirming this across a range of the most popular spreaders.”

Getting more out of every Kg of fertiliser you apply will be essential in maximising your margins and meeting your environmental obligations in the future, Sajjad Awan adds.

“Maximising NfUE can help you produce the highest yields at the best quality whilst minimising the potential environmental impact of your production.”

“A key advantage of Nitram is that it can be spread reliably and accurately to 36m with recent trials confirming this across a range of the most popular spreaders.”

5 ways you can maximise NfUE

1. Set realistic yield expectations

Start by thinking about what yields you can realistically achieve and the markets you are aiming for.

2. Measure to manage Nitrogen

Soil Mineral Nitrogen testing (SMN) is only a snapshot in time whereas a CF N-Min test
includes vital Additionally Available Nitrogen (AAN) which will indicate all the N available
to your crop as the season develops.

3. Use only what you need

Use N-Min to set a baseline for calculating precise N requirements. Too much N will reduce your NfUE as will too little as your crop’s full potential will not have been reached.

4. Balance crop nutrient demand

Other key nutrients help drive efficient N utilisation, so make sure you also test for Potash, Phosphate, Magnesium and Sulphur.

CF Fertilisers UK Ltd assumes no liability for reliance on, or any errors or omissions in, the information provided in this document. For a precise farm
specific recommendation please contact your FACTS Qualified Adviser.

Don’t forget Sulphur

Sulphur is also essential in driving N utilisation plus it’s an important component in the proteins needed for achieving the highest milling specifications, Sajjad Awan says. “There’s much less in the atmosphere than there used to be so supplementing N fertilisers with Sulphur is important. “True granular compounds such as CF DoubleTop (27N + 30SO3), SingleTop (27N + 12SO3) and our NPKS products provide a range of options to suit all situations.”

CF FertilisersCF Fertilisers

Autumn Seeds 2021 Brochure 

Request a copy of the Autumn Seeds 2021 brochure today, choose from a digital or printed copy.

Why Is Hybrid Rye Seed Becoming so Popular?

Why Is Hybrid Rye Becoming so Popular?

Widely grown in northern Europe, hybrid rye is proving to be an increasingly popular choice for improving the performance of AD (Anaerobic Digestion) plants and now as a high yielding wholecrop for livestock production. 

With its huge yield potential, flexible drilling dates, vigorous growth habit and very early maturity, it provides growers with the opportunity for increased flexibility, in terms of the position of energy crops in their rotation.

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Wynnstay's Growing Arable Business

Wynnstay's Growing Arable Business

With two seed locations Wynnstay are uniquely set up to provide a far-reaching service. By having one seed office in Yorkshire and another in Shropshire we are able to service a large proportion of the UK arable seed market.

We are also continuously investing and have recently expanded our teams at Shrewsbury and Yorkshire as we look towards the future.

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Top 7 Silage Sins

Top 7 Silage Sins

When it comes to producing good quality, nutritious silage small things can make a big difference. This is especially true of mistakes. A shortcut or a small oversight can ultimately result in silage that is unusable due to insufficient dry matter content or worse, silage that is dangerous to herd health because of mould growth and the likely presence of mycotoxins or Listeria.

Many farmers have come to accept some issues, particularly with mould, as inevitable and as a necessary evil. The reality is however, it's all too often caused by someone committing one of a number of silage "sins".

So what are these sins?

1. Leaving dead grass in the sward.

Mould growth, particularly in silage bales, depends on two crucial contributory factors, says Dr. Dave Davies, a consultant at Silage Solutions Ltd and a expert in silage and rumen nutrition.

"Firstly, the harvested forage needs to be contaminated with mould spores prior to it being baled and secondly air - or more specifically oxygen - needs to have entered the bale after wrapping."

He continues:

"Oxygen will always be present in baled forage but if a bale is wrapped correctly, it will be quickly used up through respiration either by the plant or by aerobic microorganisms present on the crop. Once it's been consumed, the wrap acts as an air barrier and will inhibit any further oxygen ingress. Moulds on the other hand are ubiquitous on farms and so it is impossible to completely remove all traces of contamination from the forage. That said, you still can and should take steps to minimise their numbers and to reduce the risk."

The steps Dave is referring to start with your intended crop. Any surplus grass at the end of the previous growing season must be removed completely, preferably by grazing or failing that, by topping. If left unchecked all this material does is die and subsequently provide nutrients to support the growth of moulds and other undesirable bacteria that will remain in the sward until harvest.

Removing this surplus grass helps to reduce the number of mould propagules in the harvested sward. Surplus grass has also been shown to reduce grass growth rates in the spring and so can reduce first cut grass yields.

2. Harvesting over mature grass

Another 'sin' which can increase the likelihood of silage being contaminated by moulds is harvesting over mature grass.

"Sometimes harvesting over mature grass is unavoidable because of the weather conditions or because you require a mature low D value forage for feeding certain classes of stock such as dry Suckler cows or if farmers are participating in environmental management schemes" Explains Dave. "However more often than not, this practice is carried out because farmers are looking to increase crop yield despite the trade off in forage quality.

"The problem with this is that as forage matures and the seed sets, the vegetative parts of the crop like the stems and the leaves begin to die and become increasingly vulnerable to invasion by fungal pathogens. These pathogens, which are not necessarily visible to the naked eye, will in turn enable many none pathogenic fungi to establish themselves in the forage creating a high overall load of fungal propagules.

"Aside from this risk of increasing the silage's mould population, farmers also need to be aware of another potential hazard when using over mature grass. Namely, that this type of forage tends to have stalky stems which are more likely to puncture the wrap and allow air ingression. As such, if you are producing silage bales from this material, it's always worth considering wrapping with 8 layers of film if you don't already do so.

3. Leaving cut grass in a narrow swath to wilt

If you want to reduce the likelihood of mould contamination within your silage, avoid leaving your cut grass in a thick narrow swath.

Such swathes encourage mould growth because their density result in higher temperatures and humidity levels, both of which enable bacteria to thrive. In addition, thick swathes reduce the effectiveness of the wind in helping to dry the crop out.

As a rule of thumb, you should aim to spread your grass over 80 to 100% of the original harvested area (depending on ground conditions) and as soon as possible after mowing and certainly within two hours

Doing so will promote rapid wilting and will also enable the sun to play a more active role in mould control. We all know the effects Ultra Violet radiation can have in terms of sun burn and skin cancer. Well, it's just as potent when it comes to killing undesirable bacteria and moulds in the swath.

4. Wrapping in the field

"All of the sins mentioned so far relate to things farmers should do to inhibit the presence of mould propagules in their silage bales" says Dave. "The other common mistakes are more to do with preventing oxygen ingress so that any mould that is present cannot grow."

"The first of these mistakes is wrapping bales in the field. Admittedly, the advice has always been and always will be to wrap bales as quickly as possible and wrapping in the field would appear to facilitate this however doing so can present other hazards.

"Firstly dropping a well wrapped bale on to the recently cut sward presents the very real risk of holes being punctured into the wrap either by stubble or by stones. When that wrapped bale is then picked up and moved to the stacking site, this damage can be exacerbated."

The advent of combi-machines in recent years means that some farmers will wrap in the field but Dave would advise that those doing so should check bales carefully for damage from stubble.

"If any damage goes unnoticed, oxygen will have unfettered access to the silage for the entire storage period enabling mould to flourish. This applies even if the holes are miniscule. Holes caused by stubble may be small. But rest assured, oxygen is smaller!"

5. Not moving bales after wrapping, in line with best practice advice

It's always recommended that you move bales as quickly as possible after wrapping. This ideally means within 2 hours but where this isn't practical, you should certainly aim to move them within 8 hours. Once at the storage site, the bales should then be left in place until they're ready to be fed out

"Many farmers understand that moving a bale once fermentation is underway means a greater likelihood of damaging the wrap and of opening up the seals between layers of film enabling oxygen to enter." points out Dave.

"As such, they leave them alone for 2 weeks. However even if you move them after this time there is a significant risk of facilitating oxygen ingress.

"That's because the bale is most likely moved with a bale grab which in effect squeezes the bale as it's picked up. This squeezing action forces the CO2 in the bale out and creates a potential vacuum. Once the bale is placed in its new resting place and the grab is released, the bale returns to its original shape with the vacuum drawing in unwanted air and oxygen which will ultimately feed mould growth."

6. Spiking a bale whether it's wrapped or not

Thankfully, most of us know better than to spike a wrapped bale. However many farmers think it's OK to spike an unwrapped bale in order to move it to the wrapper. Dave Davies says these farmers need to think again.

"When you produce a bale, you're creating a densely packed mass of forage where much of the oxygen has already been squeezed out. Once you spike it though, you're undoing all your hard work. Not only does the central spike hole allow oxygen back in but you'll also create lots of concentric holes around this as you move the bale, all of them having the same negative effect. It's a lot like ripples in a pond."

Ultimately, this introduces so much oxygen that moulds are able to grow before the oxygen is used up after the bale has been wrapped.

"As for spiking a wrapped bale?

That really is the ultimate sin. You're deliberately puncturing a film that has probably been developed and refined over the past 25 years to provide the perfect oxygen barrier and to be as thin and cost effective as possible. Any patch used over the resulting hole will never provide the same degree of oxygen protection as the original undamaged film irrespective of how well it is applied. In short, it's always better to use a grab whenever you're moving bales - wrapped or not.

7. Not netting the bales to protect from bird and vermin damage

Having spent the time, effort and energy creating baled silage, it's hard to imagine that farmers are prepared to needlessly squander the fruits of their labours. But many do every year. Our final sin is one of the simplest of all to avoid and entails not placing a net over your bales to protect them from bird or vermin damage.

These creatures don't care that your balewrap is there to provide an air barrier and will puncture it either with their feet whilst using the bales as a resting place or with their teeth or beak because they see the film as an obstacle between them and a potential source of food. And it's not just wild animals you need to worry about either, even the claws of your neighbour's cat can have the same negative effect.

For many, Dr. Davies' advice will reflect their current bale wrapping practices. But for others it will hopefully be an insight into the seven silage sins that they can avoid now, rather than regret later.

Please see our Disclaimer below:

We strive to ensure that the information, recommendations and guidance on the use of our products ("Product Guidance" is correct and offers the best guidance which we, or third party experts whom we have consulted, can provide to assist farmers and growers in deciding which products are suitable for your needs and getting the best results from our products. However, Product Guidance is necessarily of a general nature and cannot be tailored for the specific conditions and requirements which each farmer or grower will have. Bespoke advice on the suitability of our products and guidance on their use for your individual requirements should be obtained by contacting Accordingly, we make no claims, warranties, representations or guarantees on the accuracy or completeness of the Product Guidance and we exclude any legal liability or responsibility (to the maximum extent legally permissible) for the Product Guidance or for the consequences, direct or indirect, of any farmer, grower or other party following, or deciding not to follow, the Product Guidance or any part of it. Our only liability is contractual liability to purchasers of products from us as set out in our Terms and Conditions of Sale, a copy of which is available upon request from This disclaimer of liability applies to, any other member of our group of companies, our officers, directors and employees, and any third party expert or other person whose materials we have included in the Product Guidance.

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Our team of experts are always on hand to help you out with any advice you may need. 

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