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Reducing Silage Waste and Improving Yield: The Benefits of Stretch Wrap

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How stretchfilm can reduce silage waste

Silage is a preserved forage crop, in which soluble carbohydrates are fermented in the absence of air. It provides better digestible, high-energy roughage at a relatively low cost. Silage quality is determined by factors such as the speed of ensiling, bale density, chop length and bale covering management. In this article, we will look at the baling process and how to use the right stretchfilm for optimal silage production.

By using specialised stretchfilm for bales, purpose-developed for ensiling, you can preserve nutrition, improve quality and may even reduce production costs.

Stretchfilm benefit: maintains nutritional value

When oxygen penetrates anaerobically stored silage, it enhances the growth of harmful aerobic bacteria. This can occur when bales are not tightly wrapped in stretchwrap.

If using clamp silage, oxygen penetrates the silage during feedout and can lose more than half of its nutritional value to aerobic spoilage.

Baled silage comes to the rescue. By baling and wrapping silage, an impenetrable layer is created. It seals the cut crop and stops aerobic respiration, yet allows for fermentation gasses to escape.

Stretchfilm benefit: Limits spoilage and pests

Factors such as oxygen, pests and punctured stretchfilm can ruin stretch-wrapped silage. However, when properly applied, handled and stored correctly, multi-layered stretchfilm creates an airtight barrier that limits decay-causing Bacillus and Clostridium bacteria and certain yeasts and moulds.

Trying to save pennies by buying cheap film could be pound foolish in the long term.

Stretchfilm benefit: Optimise silage fermentation

For optimal silage preservation and nutrition, you want an anaerobic seal to ensure carbohydrate fermentation is thorough. If not, harmful microbes can thrive. Wrapping silage bales tightly and evenly with adequate layers of stretchfilm is a good start to the anaerobic fermentation process.

Stretchfilm benefit: Reduce silage losses

Loosely baled crops or bulging bales form irregular shapes which waste space and make unstable piles. Wrapped silage makes economic use of space, especially if baled and wrapped close to the feedout area. The increased density of bales also reduces the hassle of handling, loading and stock-taking.

So how does stretchfilm reduce silage losses? With bunker silage, chopped forage is compacted into a bunker, lined with silage sheets. Inline silage also uses stretchfilm, but the baled forage is aerobically packed into long horizontal plastic tubes.

In both storage methods, feedout spoilage occurs when the silage is exposed to oxygen. To minimise spoilage, the exposed surface must remain tightly covered during feedout.

Choosing the right stretchfilm

When choosing a stretchfilm for silage, opt for products designed for ensiling rather than basic, industrial pallet wrap. They look similar but serve very different purposes.

Quality silage stretchfilm should be strong and multi-layered to withstand field conditions without tearing. Some cling between layers is needed, but excessive cling can cause residue buildup in your baler. Also, look for baling products made with UV inhibitors and production codes for traceability.

Concerned about the use of plastic and the environment? Consider products like Tama’s Cycled Wrap, manufactured from recyclable polymers. Calculate your plastic usage by using Tama’s stretchfilm usage for round bales calculator.

In summary

Not all stretchfilm prevents silage spoilage. Cheaper options may save money in the short term but may lead to oxygen leakage and pest problems, increasing long-term feed replacement costs. Investing in advanced solutions for baling silage pays off with nutritious feed and well-managed silage stock. Tama supplies farmers with durable stretchfilm for silage that withstands diverse weather conditions and protects silage.

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