Using global technology and techniques to help African farms make high quality silage

Using global technology and techniques to help African farms make high quality silage

Silostop silage protection products are used in 43 countries around the world, on farms of all types and sizes in a range of climates. Using the latest technology and techniques, Silostop products result in less waste, more nutrients, and optimal animal health.
They can be used on silages made from all types of crops, to protect the high investment in growing, harvesting and ensiling the forage.

In Africa silage is made all year round from irrigated crops, or seasonally from rain-fed crops for fodder during the dry seasons. Silostop allows long-term storage of this valuable resource, without compromise on nutritional value, dry-matter loss or palatability.

The main product in the system is Silostop Orange oxygen barrier film. A thin (45 micron), flexible but very strong film that sticks down to the surface of the forage and is much more resistant to oxygen than conventional polyethylene ( PE) silage covers.
The 7-layer film with its unique EVOH (ethylene vinyl alcohol) composition has an oxygen transmission rate of 3 cm/ sqm/ 24 hrs, compared with 300 cm/ sqm/ 24 hrs for conventional (125 micron) silage covers. By preventing ingress of oxygen into the silo, this results in a faster and more efficient fermentation, and a 50% reduction in Dry matter (DM) losses in the top 1m layer.
Valuable nutrients are preserved, the more palatable silage leads to higher DM intakes, and spoilage and moulds are eliminated reducing health challenges.

This film requires protection from UV and also physical damage, from either a PE top sheet or preferably a Silostop SupaCova Anti-UV cover. These re-usable, strong, flexible woven covers provide 99% shading against UV, and also physical protection against domestic/wild animals, birds, rodents and wind. Physical damage to silage silos is a common problem all over the world, allowing air ingress and causing spoilage in the outer layer of the silo. SupaCova Anti-UV covers prevent this damage, and with correct usage will last a minimum of 5 years in the African climate.

clamp with cow

Silostop also offer a thicker (125 micron) Maxplus film for one-layer silage covering, using the same oxygen barrier composition. This extremely strong but flexible film is well suited to using on cereals/ sorghum/maize silages, as the fine chop length and generally level surfaces allow good film/forage contact for the thicker film. Both Silostop Orange and Maxplus films are available in a range of widths (6-27m) and lengths (35-300m).

Effective weighting of the silos using tyres or Silostop gravel-bags is essential to keep covering materials securely in place. Our gravel-bags will last minimum 5 years, hold 17kg of fine gravel, and should be used in a 6m grid pattern over the silo surface.
Soil can be used effectively around the base of field silos, for weighting and physical protection.

The Silostop system of Oxygen barrier films, Anti-UV covers, and gravel-bags can be used equally effectively for bunkers or above –ground field silos, allowing in-field storage adjacent to the areas harvested. This is similar to the Ag- Bag system, but at half the cost, uses a quarter of the plastic, and also has full physical protection. Ag-bags are vulnerable to physical damage, allowing spoilage of the contents, and also experience high losses/ contamination levels when extracting the silage.

Field silos need to be built with correctly sloping sides, to allow sufficient levels of compaction, and to allow the compacting machinery to work safely in both directions (see diagram). Silos should be contrasted on level ground away from water –course to avoid contamination, and on well drained areas with good access to allow the silage to be extracted at feed-out.
Building a rectangular, long and thin silo is well suited for farms with smaller machinery, as the design allows consecutive covering each day of the material harvested, rather than covering the whole silo at the end of the harvest period. A small open face at feed-out will also reduce DM losses, and reduce the risk of secondary fermentation once the silo is opened.
A well designed field silo is also a good alternative to wrapped bales, at much lower cost and using much less plastic without compromise on forage quality.

Silostop products have been used extensively in South Africa, on both dairy, beef, and sheep farms, with excellent results on a cost-effective basis. Depending on the value of the forage, the Return on Investment (ROI) by using Silostop films is between 4-6/ 1, calculated by the reduction of losses and preservation of quality. Silostop has 41 peer-reviewed research experiments to validate its effectiveness, conducted all over the world.

From a large intensive dairy or feedlot feeding silage all year round, to a small family farm making seasonal forage for drought insurance, Silostop products can help African farmers make top-quality feed from home-grown forage , for profitable production.

Constructing a drive-over field silo

field silo

Plan and construct the clam using the rule:

Every 1m of height = 3m width either side.

This will give you slopes that are safe to drive over each way so enabling thorough compaction.

Clamp design; long and thin, with a relatively small face to reduce aerobic spoilage.

Well compacted field clamps with the correct 3;1 slopes can achieve compaction levels comparable with bunkers.

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