Tips On Storing Silage During Harvest
Packing is important during silage storage in a bunker. High packing density will reduce dry matter as well as nutrient losses during ensiling, storage and feedout.
Here are some tops on proper bunker silo packing at harvest:
Silage Packing Time
Ensure sufficient packing time relative to the chopped forage delivery rate in order to achieve maximum packing density.
Packing time per ton is usually the highest (1-4 minutes per ton on a fresh basis) under low delivery rates (less than 30 tons per hour on a fresh basis).
Packing time is generally less than 1 minute per ton (on fresh basis) at delivery rates higher than 60 tons per hour.
Forage Delivery Rate
In order to find out the best total tractor weight to optimise packing: divide total tractor weight by 800 - this will determine the tons per hour of fresh silage that can be properly stacked.
Example: a tractor with total weight of 40,000 lbs/800 = 150 tons of silage per hour can be properly stacked.
To increase tractor weight, consider filling the tires with water or add weights to the tractor's front.
Forage Layer Thickness
Chopped forage should be spread in thin layers - around 6 to 12 inches.
If bunker silo is properly packed, the tires of the packing tractor should ideally passes through the entire surface before the next forage layer is distributed.
Mistakes To Avoid
Harvest at the wrong moisture or maturity level.
Poor feedout management.
Not removing spoiled silage regularly.
Not using inoculants correctly.