Silage handling strategies
Silage handling and storage is a well debated subject, with many schools of thought on what works best. With no right or wrong answer, it is a farmer’s circumstances that will determine the most appropriate silage handling and storage method.
The first step to choosing the most appropriate method is assessing how long the silage will need to be stored. If the silage is to be fed out in the next two to three years, individually wrapped bales or tube wrap may be used. Using individual bales provides easy handling and storage flexibility. On the flip side, individually wrapped bales have a higher cost per kilogram of dry matter due to the additional wrap used and time involved to individually wrap each bale.
To ensure wrapped bales are handled carefully, reducing the incidences of damaging the bales, use a quality wrapped bale clamp for handling.
For longer term silage storage, a silage bunker or pit is the best option. An airtight heavy plastic lined concrete bunker will provide a secure barrier against oxygen and enable the silage to be compacted down effectively. The longevity of the feed inside of the silage pit depends on the quality and preparation of the grass before storage, along with the quality of ensilage.
Although a silage pit has a greater up front capital investment, much less plastic wrap and contractor time is needed to maintain it. To maximise silage longevity once the stack is opened, it is essential to ensure the stack face is maintained properly.
One of the most efficient attachments to use is a silage grab that has been specifically designed to bite cleanly into the stack, minimising the incidences of tearing. Silage grabs also tend to have a larger cubic capacity for their weight compared to other silage pit attachments, allowing you to shift more silage and less attachment, due to lack of any large and heavy hydraulic cylinders and/or shearing blades.
To discuss using a Silage Grab or Wrapped Bale Clamp from Rata Equipment to handle silage on-farm, visit your local PGG Wrightson Rural Supplies store.