The oats were sown in Autumn and here they were in May:
The idea was to provide quick winter feed and open up the soil with their deep roots but it got so wet, we couldn’t graze them and some were stunted.
Most of the paddock looked perfect in August but the soil was still too wet for the cows.
This spelled trouble. It meant we’d missed the chance to graze the oats at all. The growing points would be too high. If I ignored that and grazed them anyhow, there would be nothing to bale to feed out next calving season. Oats are great to feed to heavily pregnant cows because they lower the risk of milk fever.
This is how they looked two weeks ago:
It meant they had to be cut quite quickly and this week was our chance. They were mown on Monday and Tuesday:
By Thursday (yesterday), they were still a little sappy but, while it was 30 degrees Celsius, a cool change was on its way, so we had to wrap it as silage rather than leaving it to dry further to become hay.
It was such a nice feeling to listen to the rain on the roof last night, knowing I had hundreds of sweet silage bales all wrapped up for the girls next autumn!
I’ve discovered a treasure-trove of info on silage making online, by the way. Check out the Dairy Australia “Successful Silage” manifesto. If you’re not thrilled by silage, you could use it to rock yourself off to sleep.