This report is of a comparison of the Silostop® silo covering system, comprising oxygen barrier film with protective net and gravel bags, with a standard silo covering system comprising standard polyethylene film with tyres.
Progress in the past 50 years is reviewed with reference to the major scientific disciplines involved in forage conservation. Hybrid cultivars of maize (Zea mays L.), the forage harvester, the large baler, polyethylene covering for silos, stretch-wrap for bales, and additives designed to improve the preservation of moist hay and the fermentation of silage all contributed to improved technological efficiency.
A meta-analysis published recently in the journal Grass and Forage Science, showed that an oxygen barrier film was superior to standard polyethylene film in minimizing silage DM losses, reducing visible spoilage and improving aerobic stability of silage stored in bunkers and piles. The analysis included 41 trials from North America, South America, Australia and Europe.
Despite a favourable silage-making season, livestock farmers will still need to be on top of their game this winter to reduce the effect of moulds and mycotoxins on forage quality during silage feed-out.
The amount of money lost each year as a result of "shrink" is too high and it happens in way too many silage programs. It's estimated that between 16 and 20 percent of the corn silage put up in the U.S. this past year will be lost. That's $1.1 to $1.3 billion in feed inventory out of the window. If the U.S could achieve a single digit shrink, we would be looking at about a $600 million loss in corn silage. Let's take a look at ways to reduce shrink and how each one can add to your bottom line.
Spoilage of silage occurs in the peripheral areas of silos and bales due to oxygen ingress during the storage period. The loss of organic matter represents potentially digestible crop components and visibly deteriorated material is discarded as unfit for use as animal feed. The accidental inclusion of spoiled silage in the animal’s diet is a risk to animal health and can reduce livestock productivity by depressing silage intake and digestibility. Accumulated temperature above ambient during exposure of silage to air is an indicator of the likely decrease in intake. The oxygen-barrier (OB) film “Silostop®” reduces silage surface spoilage by restricting oxygen permeation and the growth of moulds and butyric acid bacterial spores. Aerobic stability is also increased in silage stored in the upper layer under Silostop® compared to standard polyethylene film, probably a reflection of slower development of yeasts and moulds due to restricted oxygen ingress into the outer layer of the silo prior to full exposure of silage to air during the feed-out period.