12 September 2017

Ensiling Sorghum: chopping, transport and pressing

Last August, we visited our friends of Gala Merino Farm (Escalona del Prado - Segovia). This time, we went there since they were ensiling a special and unknown crop for us: the Sorghum.

The Gala Merino Daily delivers its milk production (over 3.5 million per year) to Danone. This year, Gala Merino Farm was awarded the prize for Sustainable Competitiveness because they meet the highest requirements of respect for the environment. To achieve this goal, they use solar panels, together with four milking robots; apart from that, the design of the farm is optimal in ventilation, which allows increasing animal welfare.

The Sorghum crop is not very common in Spain, although it could be a good alternative for ensiling. On this occasion, the sorghum was sowing (using direct seeding) on a field where there was winter barley that was ensiling in spring. The water that the sorghum need is lower than corn (about half of waters) and sorghum can be harvested twice (in that moment, they worked in the first harvesting). About its yield, it is really good... about 40,000 kg/he.

On the other hand, our friends performed a Sorghum analysis, which indicated that the average protein level is 12.6%. This rate is quite low compared to other crops with similar characteristics, such as Rye, which has a protein level of 15%, although its production is much smaller. Nevertheless, when you ensile corn is with the aim of getting a good level of starches, not protein. On this occasion, forage sorghum will be included in the feed ration of cows to increase the quality of milk.

Versión en español.