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Guide 20
as `oxygen barrier films' and
have cling film properties
also. These are claimed to let
virtually no oxygen through.
These would typically be
used under a black polythene
sheet or close weave netting.
Suppliers of these products
should be able to give
assurances that the
oxygen transmission rate
through these should be
much lower than that of
normal black polythene
sheets and the like.
Good management of
the silage feed out face is
very important. Manage
the silage feed out face
to minimise waste and
maintain feed quality.
Visible rotten or mouldy
silage on the top and
sides, if not taken away,
will mix with good silage
and reduce intakes and
the average dry matter
digestibility (DMD) of the
To minimise deterioration
at the pit face remove
between 15cm and 30cm
(6 to 12 inches) daily
throughout the winter
months. The leading edge
of the covering sheets
should remain tightly
sealed to minimise heating
and spoilage. The leading
edge should be secured
along top and sides with
a solid row of gravel
bags to prevent air from
getting underneath the
covers and to maintain an
oxygen-free environment
back along the unused
part of the pit or clamp.
Air that is left to blow back
continuously must surely
cause surface waste back
along the pit. Keep the
face perpendicular to the
floor of the pit to minimise
the surface area exposed
to air. Using a shear grab
makes pit face management
easy. Don't pull back the too
much, ideally not much wider
than the shear grab. Fold the
cover back so that rainwater
can't drench the pit face.
Take action
If you experience some of the
problems outlined in this article,
maybe this is the year to take
action to resolve these issues.
Silage is an expensive feed.
The extra work and expense
dealing with waste silage is
considerable. Cost savings,
better quality, higher intakes
and no fear of running short
are all benefits of taking action.
Don't spend another year
putting up with silage waste.