Silage filling the roughage shortage of the winter

Mr. Wangchuks Dairy shed with cows
Wangchuk’s dairy shed with the cows

On Sunday the 14th of August 2016, the Dzongkhag Livestock sector initiated silage making at Wangchuk’s dairy farm at Pinsa in Daga Geog.

Silage making is a way of preserving grass or maize in an anaerobic condition in a properly constructed silo pit or plastic sheet to be fed in winter for the cows when there is scarcity of forage in winter. The grass or maize preserved in the form of silage will provide best aroma, preserved nutrients and will provide best palpability for dairy cows. The silage making is initiated mainly to fill the forage shortage in winter, reduce calf mortality and to increase milk production and reproductive performance of the cows.

Wangchuk is a progressive dairy farmer who has availed BOiC loan in the year 2014-2015 and has leased 5 acres of land at Pinsa, Daga Geog for his integrated farming. Today he has 4 jersey crossbred cows with 1 pure jersey breeding bull, 2 heifers and a yearling calf,100 numbers of pullets about to lay eggs and has dug the fish ponds for inland fisheries to be implemented soon. He has also plans to come up with piggery farming for breeding as well as for pork production.

This Livestock sector has supported the proponent in supply of maize seeds along with technical supports to grow the maize for ensiling. So, today finds Wangchuk able to gather 10 farm labourers to make silage for the lean season. To provide the technical support required, Dorji Dukpa, the pasture focal person and Kencho Tshering, ADLO, has participated in silage making to provide technical support.

Wangchuk could ensile with chopped maize measuring approximately 4200 kgs to be fed in the lean season as advised by the livestock sector. As of now, Wangchuk has no need for a farm attendant to look after his farm animals.

The Silage making Process includes:

  1. Maize is harvested when fully grown to have high biomass production
  2. It is then chopped with the help of chaff cutter and poured inside the silo pit as per Figure 2.
  3. Timely pressing the chopped maize with the help of feet by the labourers is important to take out the air
  4. When chopping is completed, compressed well before covering the plastic sheet
  5. Now cover the plastic sheet and air tighten so that the growth of fungus will not take place inside the silage.
  6. The bacterial fermentation will take place in the silage and this will provide best taste and nutrients for the cows
  7. Although fermentation can take place in few weeks, but it is advised to feed in winter when there is scarcity of forage.
  8. However, the growth of fungus is an indication of poor quality silage and may not liked by the dairy cows which are caused due to poor ensiling procedures.

In the coming season, the Livestock sector has a plan to make silage in the dairy groups as well as crop enrichment programs carried out in all the rice growing geogs to come across the forage shortage and to add value nutrients to the straws.


Submitted by Kencho Tshering, ADLO, Wangdue

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