The importance of Silage Sampling & Analysis

Grass silage in many cases will be the largest component of feed this winter. It is generally accepted that silage quality will be better this year. However by how much and what are the implications of this? Underestimating the feeding value leads to wasteful feeding of concentrates to animals that don’t require them and overestimating the feeding value leads to poor animal performance and live-weight gain. 

This is highlighted in Figure 1 which shows the concentrate requirement for weanlings doubling if the silage DMD is 60 compared to a DMD of 70. 


Key point: Don’t make assumptions; to accurately determine the feeding value of the silage, silage sampling and testing is strongly recommended. 

Any analysis is only as good as the sample received and therefore the following points will help ensure the sample received is representative of the silage*.
1. Samples of silage should be cored the full depth of the silo along two intersecting diagonals. A total of 4-6 cores are preferred or alternatively samples can be taken from the face of an open silo. Samples taken in this way should be from side to side and top to bottom in a 'W' pattern.
2. Bulk together sub samples to give a sample, which is approximately 500g (1lb) in total. The sample should be placed, all air expelled and sealed without delay in a sample bag.
3. Write your name, account number and reference to the silage on each sample bag.
4. Send samples as soon as possible (store in a cool, dry environment before sending and keep the period before sending short,) to: Dairygold Feed Laboratory, Lombardstown, Mallow, Co. Cork or drop them into your local Dairygold branch. 


It is also worth sampling each batch of silage bales made

*Alternatively talk to your local Area Sales Manager (ASM) about our FREE silage sampling service (carried out once a year in the October-November period).  Your local ASM can also help you interpret your silage sample results and recommendations to match your own farm situation.  Dairygold charge €28.44 ex VAT (€32.28 including VAT) per sample for our silage analysis which measures:
• Dry matter
• Dry matter Digestibility (DMD)
• UFL/UFV (energy)
• NDF (fibre)
• pH (measure of how well preserved the silage is)
• Ash
• Lactic Acid (acid load)
• Ammonia Nitrogen (preservation quality)
• Crude protein
• PDIA/PDIN/PDIE (protein quality)

Get in touch 

For further help and advice contact your local Agri representative

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