Additional film layer can help to prevent silage waste

10 May 2019

Adding an additional thin clear film directly to the top of freshly clamped silage, under the traditional black plastic sheet, can reduce feed wastage to zero. So says RPC bpi agriculture’s Lloyd Dawson.

“With conserved forage in short supply following 2018’s poor grass growing season, reducing post harvest losses will help producers to make and store as much as possible this year,” explains Mr Dawson.

Dry-matter losses

He adds that silage dry-matter losses can be as high as 25% in clamps, mainly through poor consolidation at filling or poor sheeting. Applying a thin, flexible and low permeability top sheet can make a real impact on reducing top or shoulder waste.

Visqueen Clingseal ‘clings’ to the surface of the clamp and prevents pockets of trapped air forming, which would lead to aerobic spoilage. “It also facilitates faster, more efficient fermentation, which produces high quality forage to feed,” says Mr Dawson.

No waste

Robert Dodds, a fourth-generation producer based in south west Scotland, milks 1,650 cows and makes 22,000 tonnes of conserved forage, taken in three cuts, from 735 hectares of grass.

And he says that fitting an additional film layer under the black top sheet has eliminated top waste completely.

Extra silage

“Before we started using it, top and side wastage could be as high as 5%. But now there is no wastage at all,” says Mr Dodds.

“We could easily have eight centimetres of waste on the top and edges of each clamp. Now, with no spoilage, there is more than 1,000 tonnes of extra silage extra to feed to the cows, which more than covers the cost of the film.”