Continuity of quality feed is important to all farm animals, thus ensuring consistent daily live weight gains or milk quality and production to maximise returns. That is why producing quality baled silage is imperative.
Care and attention is required throughout the whole baled silage process; from cutting and wilting to baling, wrapping and storage.
There are several benefits of using baled silage including being less dependent on weather conditions; when managed correctly, the quality of big bale silage can be better than clamp silage as well as having lower aerobic spoilage losses compared to clamp.
Baled silage is easy to handle and can easily be mixed with other forages to provide ideal nutritional requirements to different types of stock on farm. It has lower dry matter losses during production and storage (<5-10%) than clamp silage and has a low pollution risk, with no effluent wastage if bales are properly wrapped, especially high dry matter bales. In addition, baled silage has limited capital investment in addition to low transport and storage cost.
The optimum period to cut the grass is at the time of ear or panicle emergence of the dominating plant and after the dew has dried off. Cut the grass at a height of approximately 5 – 10 cm depending on soil contamination risk.
Spreading the forage in as wide a swath as possible, within 1 hour of cutting, enables wilting to 35-55% DM, no more than 24 hours for grass and 48 hours for legumes such as Lucerne and Red Clover.
An additive can be added to control the fermentation and reduce in-silo losses.
Baling and wrapping are equally important parts of the Bale Silage process.
Forming densely packed, well chopped bales is important for producing quality silage. Densely-packed forage will mean less air within the bale, and chopping forage during baling results in a rapid release of sugars.
These two factors will result in the rapid growth of desirable bacteria that are essential for good silage preservation. Once baled use a silage stretch film that creates an airtight seal that forms an ideal ensiling environment for fermenting the crop. Furthermore, if cared for properly, bales retain their oxygen free condition throughout the storage period so that the silage is perfectly preserved until feed-out.
Is your forage and bale equipment up for the job? Are you considering replacing some of your kit?
Then visit the Vincent Tractors Grassland Event To see the latest forage and bale equipment from Vicon as well as the NEW Kubota M7001 series tractors at work. The event is on Thursday 5th May at Resurrance Farm, Carnego Lane, Summercourt, TR8 5BG, between 12.00pm and 7.30pm. Visit www.vincenttractors.co.uk for further information.