A significant amount of silage ends up wasted, due to spoilage, levels of up to 20% are not unusual. The good news is that there are some straightforward cost effective steps that can reduce this.
- Manage the top silage sheet
Only move the top sheet back a few inches at a time to minimise the amount of forage exposed to air and keep the leading edge weighted down with gravel bags to prevent air getting back under the sheet.
- Spoiled Silage
Discard spoiled silage from the top and side. Never leave spoiled silage anywhere near the silage face as it can act as a reservoir of spoilage organisms and under no circumstances should it be fed to cows or any other stock as it can cause contamination of the whole ration and reduce feed intakes and digestibility.
- Keep the face vertical and tight
Move across the whole face as quickly as possible taking thin 30-50cm slices, rather than taking deeper bites. Taking too much at one time just loosens the face, exposing more silage to air which provides the oxygen required by spoilage organisms.
- Sharp knives
Make sure the block cutter or shear grab knives are kept sharp to minimise face disruption. This is particularly important with drier forages.