Sealing silage stacks successfully

By Country News

There are no short cuts when sealing stacks of forage harvested silage, according to the Australian Fodder Industry Association.

The peak body said sticking a few tyres on top to hold the plastic down and throwing a bit of dirt around the edges, was not a suitable airtight seal.

A few tips are available for farmers to help them achieve perfectly stored silage with no visible signs of waste from decomposition or mould.

Precision-harvested material of about 1 cm to 5 cm can be ensiled at 40 to 50 per cent dry matter as its length will allow for easier and better compaction, but must still be well sealed to preserve the benefits.

Roll your silage slowly to allow the weight of the tractor to compress the material.

Spread the harvest material thinly in layers of about 150 mm to 200 mm.

Ensure stacks are sealed straight after harvest by pulling a plastic sheet over the stack at night and using tyres around the stack edge with a few in the centre to weigh down the plastic.

Ideally the stack should be completed within one to three days.

Fix any holes immediately.

Prevent stock damage by constructing fences and gateways.

Crops harvested with loader wagons or double choppers, which harvest relatively long chopped material of 5 cm to 15 cm, should be harvested at 28 to 35 per cent dry matter.

If material is much drier than this, compaction by rolling will be much less effective unless an extremely heavy machine is used, because not enough air will have been excluded.