Entries open for Scotland’s longest-running silage competition

Entries are now open for the 22nd annual AgriScot silage competition, a prestigious event highlighting the importance of quality silage production, particularly at a time when rising feed and fertiliser costs are putting pressure on farm businesses.

Winner of the Beef Clamp section in 2022, SRUC farm manager, James Marshall.

The competition, which has attracted more than 3000 entries since it began, is the longest-running silage competition in Scotland, never missing a year since 2001 – despite disasters such as foot and mouth disease and the coronavirus pandemic.

Silage production is vital to farm enterprises across Scotland. Knowing the nutritional value of silage allows for accurate ration planning, and regular analysis means variations in quality can be quickly corrected, especially in years with volatile weather.

The competition is divided into four categories: Beef Clamp, Dairy Clamp, Big Bale and a Young Farmer class for those aged 30 and under, which can be submitted from any cut of silage.

Judges will examine the silage analysis report submitted by each applicant, evaluating metabolisable energy, crude protein, and dry matter.  Those in the top three of each category will be contacted about having a fresh silage sample collected – which will be judged live on the day of AgriScot.

Organisers of the competition are once again anticipating strong entries, with judges whittling submissions down to the top 12 finalists, before revealing category winners at this year’s AgriScot in November.

Farmers have until Monday 25th October to submit their silage report for the competition.

Andrew Best, seed specialist at sponsors and competition organisers Watson Seeds, said it was especially important this year to understand the value of the silage to the business.

“This year’s silage season has been dominated by weather extremes, with generally good grass growth throughout the season, but tight harvesting windows.

First cut silage was of good quality though generated lower yields, and a later period of drought meant that second cut could contain higher fibre grass, reducing silage quality,” he noted.

In the main ring, Hugh McClymont, former SRUC research farm manager, and RHASS chairman and agronomist, Jim Warnock, will judge the final samples, explain their decisions, and entertain the crowd with their forage knowledge and silage analysis feedback.

Jim Warnock said: “Analysing silage this year is more important than ever, with silage being baled at less than optimum times, reducing ME value.  Analysis is a great starting block to understanding what supplements may be needed to perfect feed rations.”

Last year’s winner of the Beef Clamp class, SRUC farm manager James Marshall added: “We always do our best to make quality forage and, confirmation that we are doing a great job with our silage provides a real sense of pride and achievement.

“Having the chance to compare with others is inspiring, and to receive feedback from the judges during the competition is invaluable.”

Winners of each category will be awarded with ten acres of any Watson Seeds Castle mixture, with second and third place, receiving five and two acres, respectively.

Entries should be emailed to Andrew Best at abest@watsonseeds.com by 25th October.

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