For grassland and dairy farmers following a low-input strategy it is essential to reduce farmexternal feedstuffs and to optimise the quality of home-grown forage from meadows and pastures. The results of a comprehensive monitoring project organised and conducted by AREC Raumberg- Gumpenstein shows that there is a considerable potential in Austria to improve silage quality in practice. Apart from unfavourable natural weather conditions in mountainous areas the main reasons for unsatisfying silage quality are obvious in management mistakes. Too late harvest time resulting in high content of crude fibre, low concentration of easy fermentable sugar and serious problems with the compaction of such bulky material is still a big problem in practice. Forage contamination resulting in an increased risk of clostridia respectively butyric acid in the fermentation process is another serious problem that has to be faced with. During the last years the mechanisation chain for silage production has improved a lot and a growing number of farmers make demands on the machinery rings to process ensiling. In many cases the charging of the silos on farms become the bottleneck and time is too short to ensure sufficient and proper compaction of the applied material. Strong efforts have to be made to advise farmers specifically how to improve the ensiling procedure and to increase silage quality by means of field days, working teams, leaflets and articles.
Pötsch, E.M., Buchgraber, K. and Resch, R. (2010): Forage conservation in mountainous regions – results of the Austrian silage monitoring project. 14th International Symposium of Forage Conservation, Brno, Mendel University Brno, March 17-19, 2010, 4-11.