Our expert Renato is sharing his short pre-ensiling checklist.
- Clean the storage structures and repair whatever is needed. For silo towers – check that any ladders or cages are properly attached. Ensure the floor drain is open and free of debris. For bunker- inspect the integrity of the walls and ensure that old silage and dirt is removed. It is recommended to leave the space open to the rain and sun. This will help further sanitize the area. Prepare the extra materials (plastic cover, tires, etc.) that will be needed. Don’t forget to check and repair machinery.
- Design and organize the area for storing each crop and cutting, according to the needs and goals – different crops, cutting, even field variability will make the resulting silage distinctive and this will be important when it comes to ration formulation.
For small volumes or wide variety of forages – you might want to consider storing in bales or bags. For larger amounts of the same crop – store in bunker or silo tower. Silo towers are more convenient for feeding directly in the barn, but requires higher investment per ton ensiled.
- Determine the number of trucks and tractors according to the speed or rate of harvest. An easy calculation for the amount of packing weight needed (lb) is to multiply the harvest rate (ton/h) by 800 (e.g. 100 ton/h * 800 = 80,000 lb of packing weight). Use 400 for metrics in kg.
- Monitor regularly the stage of maturity of the plants and have an accurate method to determine dry matter content.