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Round Bale Silage

Tips to generate high-quality baled silage.

Ballenpresse

Bales have certain advantages over other silage forms, such as the minimal construction investments they require and the excellent possibilities of mechanising this process.

Modern combination machines press and wind the bales in a single action. The qualities which can be achieved are satisfactory and grading on the basis of the cut and grass quality is easy. And bales enable cows to be fed in a targeted manner, based on their output. Since the bales are easy to transport, they can also be traded quite easily. Horse farmers appreciate baled silage as a high-nutrient alternative to hay.

But the quality of silage bales may be affected by butyric and in-silo fermentation. The cut length of the grass is usually significantly longer than when in-field stacks or horizontal silos are set up. Air is usually retained in the bale, which is a risk to the aerobic stability of the silage forage.

To achieve an optimum result we have compiled some tips which have proven their worth in practice.


Technical details

Baler

The balers must be optimally adjusted to compact the bales as much as possible and minimize the amount of air trapped inside them. The bales must be wound within two hours of pressing. If possible, winding should take place on the farm to prevent the bales being damaged during transport. This often turns out to be impossible in practice, because more and more press/wind combinations are used to make the work more efficient.


The foil

Ballenpresse-Folie

The silage bale must be wound such that the grass is packaged airtight. Only then can lactic acid fermentation inside the bale start and a protective CO2 atmosphere be formed. The oxygen in the air is breathed, making it virtually impossible for moulds to develop and survive.

White or light foil is preferred over dark foil, since it heats up less when exposed to sunlight. When foil is heated up, it becomes more permeable to gases, enabling some of the protective atmosphere in round bales to evaporate. This will result in nutrients being lost. Foil widths of 750 mm are ideal and are to be preferred over 500-mm foil. If the foil overlaps by 50%, winding 6 layers will suffice as a rule, unless the bales are subjected to heavy mechanical loads during long transport movements. Eight layers are recommended in that case.


Transport

Bales-transport

Handle and transport ready-wound bales with care. Immediately repair any foil that is damaged. Grippers with long contact surfaces distribute the pressure equally and prevent the bales from being damaged.


Storing round bales

Storage of silagebales

Round silage bales must be stored with care. The surface on which they are placed must be clean, dry and stable and a layer of 5-10 cm of sand or gravel must be spread over it. The round bales must be placed on their flat sides to prevent them from deforming while stored. The bales can be stacked if their dry matter content is more than 35%. Do not store the bales too close to the wall to prevent rodents nesting between the bales. Installing anti-bird nets may be advisable.


Regular inspections

tattered foil of a bale

The round bales must be checked for damage, for instance by rodents, on a regular basis and to be able to seal tears and holes in time. If damage remains undetected, the protective gas will escape and air will enter into the bale, as a result of which mould may spoil the entire bale in a very short time. Make sure things never get as bad as shown in the picture!


Using silage additives

Silage Equipment

Silage additives ensure the quality of round bales by preventing butyric and in-silo fermentation. Moist grass must be treated with KOFASIL Liquid. This kills Clostridia and reliably prevents butyric acid fermentation. The dosing volumes depend on the quality and moisture content of the grass.

However, if relatively dry grass with a high dry matter content is ensiled, there is a serious risk of in-silo fermentation causing the bale to go mouldy. This can be prevented reliably by dosing 2 litres of KOFA Grain -pH 5- per bale. The active ingredient sodium benzoate effectively inhibits moulds and ensures top-quality feed hygiene. This even enables excellent quality bales to be achieved with humid hay. Horse lovers appreciate the absence of dust in bales of this quality.


The use of our special silage additive KOFASIL BALE is new.

KOFASIL BALE is unique since we have managed to cover two fields of activity with one product. KOFASIL BALE works effectively to prevent Listeria, E. coli and Clostridia (butyric fermentation, butyric acid) and against yeasts and moulds (aerobic deterioration). Both the risk factors humidity and dryness can now be minimized safely using one product. Every bale is protected on all sides by means of one dose of approx. two litres. The result is perfect, hygienically impeccable silage, which both cattle and horses love.