Homepage Blog Optimal storage practices for silage and hay: Top tips for farmers

Optimal storage practices for silage and hay: Top tips for farmers

Proper hay and silage storage: Top tips for farmers

As a farmer, you know the proper storage of hay and silage bales is vital to limit waste and ensure feed quality. Follow best practices for storage to keep your summer bounty’s nutritional value undiminished.

What is silage stretch film?

Stretch film or silage wrap as it’s also known, is a plastic film that tightly seals and preserves bales of silage. This durable puncture-resistant film creates an airtight seal which prevents oxygen-related spoilage and loss of nutrients.  When properly applied, with netwrap binding to create a good bale shape, a good quality silage wrap will ensure access to high-quality feed throughout the winter months.

Silage storage: stretch film

Silage is an alternative feed option to hay, especially when harvesting in wetter conditions. Remember, the crop’s dry matter content will influence the quality and type of the silage end-product.

Wrapping silage crops – individual bales or inline wrapping – in a puncture-resistant stretch film has several core advantages over ensiled crops in silage pits or silos.

  • With baling, the crop is wrapped anaerobically within hours for fermentation of the natural sugars by lactic acid bacteria to start.
  • Silage bales are easier to handle, making it easier to take the feed to the cattle.
  • Less wastage. Silage bales (and inline-wrapped bales) allow for a more controlled use of forage with less oxygen exposure once opened, compared to clamp silage.
  • There is a lower chance of effluent spillage from silage bales.
  • Additional income. Wrapped individual bales are also transportable, making sale to other farmers possible, allowing an additional income stream where excess bales were made in the season

Good stretch films are UV-stabilised, puncture and tear-resistant and have roll identification for traceability. Stretch film for silage bales must have a good cling for an airtight seal to allow for

Good stretch films are UV-stabilised, puncture and tear-resistant and have roll identification for traceability.
Prepping hay for outdoor storage

If outdoor storage of bales is the only practical option, keep the bottom of the bales dry. Pick a spot with full sun exposure and sufficient airflow, stacking the bales apart from each other, to prevent any rain-water collecting between the bales, preferably on a slight incline to allow for water drainage.

When packing bales, run the rows or build the stack in a north-south direction. That way, both sides get sunshine, which helps them dry quickly if rained upon. Wrapping hay bales with twine doesn’t offer water protection. Instead, consider a breathable netwrap like B-Wrap.

Avoid storing hay bales under transparent plastic sheeting in hot areas. It might protect from moisture, but heat and humidity build an unhealthy microclimate that can reduce nutrient quality over time.

In summary: tips for proper storage


  • Store bales on a slight slope with proper sunlight, airflow
  • Build bale rows and stacks in a north-south direction
  • Limit soil contact or place bales on pallets when indoors


  • Make silage bales to improve handling and conserve space
  • Wrapping bales with six layers provides much better protection and durability when transported or stored
  • Use white durable UV-protected stretch film for better fermentation control, as white film reduces bale temperatures in bright sunshine
  • Ensure tight outer layers without perforations

Following best practices for storing hay and silage limits spoilage, retains nutrition and reduces waste. Protecting your summer harvest pays off all winter long.

Skip to content