July 23, 2011 2 min read
Good silage stack management is essential if best results are to be achieved. A poorly designed pit or bunker not only adds to wastage but also increased the workload involved with feeding out. “The objective must be to do it right first time,” says Jack Bright, who has been in the industry for over 15 years and shares some of his experience here.
The Sales Director, Bright says, “farming has become big business, farmers have to maximise the return they get from every dollar. If they don’t adapt” he says, “they’ll be left in the wake of those who do!” “Good farming is all about maximising potential for quality production and consequent profit, and minimising factors that could adversely affect those goals!” says Bright.
A properly specified and constructed silage bunker ensures greater and more even compaction so, in the case of maize silage, farmers can achieve an average density of 225kg DM/m³ compared with less than 200kg DM/³ when stacked Otherwise. Positioning the bin handy to where the silage will be fed out is important, and so is its orientation to prevailing wind, rain and sun. And it’s also important that the site is able to be easily accessed by large truck and trailer units and that the surrounding ground is firm. And while harvesting maize at the right time will minimise any leeching to almost nil, it’s also important to make provision for the water to be drained away from the site. *Based on a tractor bucket reach of 2.5m high and a twin U bin structure – the most economical and easiest to build. Actual bunker size will be determined by each individual farmer’s herd management practices but ideally 15 – 20cm
of the face should be removed each day and the whole face every 24 hours.
These factors will also determine the optimum stack height for efficient operation of the facility, with maximum height also being affected by the loader’s bucket reach. Oxygen is the number one enemy of good silage making and so, to ensure its access is controlled, a good quality 150mm micron thick polythene is essential. Choosing black or white polythene will pay dividends and better enable the farmer to keep temperatures in the stack below 30° Celsius, the point where the silage is over cooked and the food value can start to drop off rapidly.
Some things never change and old car tyres are still one of the best ways of ensuring the stack is kept properly wrapped and sealed and it’s always a good idea to lay baits for rats, mice and possums, making sure the bait is secure from other farm animals.
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