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THE CANAG FARM TECHNOLOGY MANUFACTURING GROUP
THE BENEFITS OF SILAGE - WHY IT IS PROFITABLE
Less dependent on weather conditions
Quality of big bale silage can be as good as clamp silage, usually better when well managed
Lower aerobic spoilage losses compared to clamp
Easy handling and feeding systems
Tailored dietary solutions
Lower dry matter losses during production and storage (<5-10%)
Flexible storage system
Limited capital investment
A bale without wrapping keeps only 15% of the nutrional value on a 6 months timeframe
A bale withwrapping keeps
95% of the nutrional value on a 6 months timeframe
HOW TO BALE - IT'S EASY WHEN YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO
Chop the crop to allow for higher compression - aim for 200 - 220 kg of dry matter / m3 - BETWEEN 4" and 5'5" long
Add silage inoculants if necessary and according to planned use
Wrap -as soon as possible at store site using high quality film with 55 - 70% pre-stretching
Use a minimum of 6 layers for cow and 8 or more layers of film for horse silage
Consider green or white wrap to reduce heat of bale surface and minimise spoilage
In addition to the quality of the raw materials being conserved, there are two factors contributing to the success of bale silage: the structure and density of the bale and the effectiveness of the airtight cover. Modern farming practices involve wrapping bales in multiple layers of plastic film to create a secure airtight cover. The nutritional value of the ensiled crop is preserved and spoilage – an inherent problem of the earlier bagged system – is reduced. The plastic is stretched, using a stretching unit fixed to a bale wrapper, then wrapped around the bale. The plastic memory – a characteristic that makes the film return to its original dimensions – causes the film to compress around the bale to give a very tight and secure wrap. Good quality film will better stick together between layers, contributing to a better airtight bale.
ADVANTAGES AND BENEFITS ARE CLEAR
While silage production has been widespread for many years, baling is a relatively new technique, introduced just over a decade ago. This means there are still major opportunities for increasing the value it provides to the farmer.
Improvements can be achieved in the nutritional quality of the conserved silage and in the retention of the harvested and conserved crop’s value.
The film wrap used to cover the bales has a central role to play in maximising and retaining quality and value.
When prepared efficiently and with good quality equipment and wrap, research indicates that baled silage has more to offer financially and in convenience than other conservation methods, even for larger farms.
A rarely considered and practical approach is the use of big bales for ensilage instead of clamp.
During precision chopping of forage for the silage clamp, water contained in the cells of the plant is released and so becomes part of the silage mass that requires acidification. In baled silage however, even if the baler chops the forage during formation, much less damage is exerted on the plant cell walls causing less water to be released into the silo mass, therefore less acidification is required. At the same dry matter (DM), a well preserved bale silage will have less total acid including lactic acid than the same grass preserved in clamp silage.
Acid in silage is both unavoidable and fundamental during fermentation. However, reducing the total acid content is considered to be a good thing. Increasing the DM of the forage by rapid wilting should be the first approach but using additives and producing baled silage can further reduce the acid content.