Silage wrap is a preferred method for baling pre-harvest feed.
Pre-harvest feed baling can significantly benefit dairy producers, including improved cow-feeding performance and increased nutrient recycling. Pre-harvest baled silage also provides the opportunity for greater use of on-farm resources by providing an additional storage option.
Farming experts agree that silage wrap Australia is the best option to protect the feed and maximize nutrient recycling.
“Silage wrap is simply a much better option than using plastic film because it provides a superior barrier to oxygen and water vapour compared with regular plastic sheeting,” says John Purdy, dairy scientist and managing partner of Ag-Vision Consulting Services in Chester, New York. He adds that wrapping also eliminates the need to remove plastic film after baling, reducing the risk of heat damage during offloading and feeding.
Pre-harvest silage wrapping has numerous benefits. It reduces feed waste by reducing oxidation and fermentation loss by up to 60 percent, according to University of New Hampshire research results presented at Penn State’s 2012 Dairy Cattle Nutrition Conference.
The use of silage wrap also reduces nutrient loss because fewer feed ferments result in fewer cows off-feed and returns more nutrients to the soil for future crops. Feeding trials conducted by Michigan State University found that using pre-harvest wrapped bales increased milk production by an average of 4 pounds per cow per day compared to feeding non-wrapped bales.
This increase in milk production is attributed to improved feed intake and cow performance, says Don Spiers, farm business management agent for Michigan State University Extension. The increased milk production means more money for the farm, which can be used to pay off the silage wrap investment, he adds.
“Although there is a capital investment for the wrapper, it can be used on a variety of crops and provides a wide range of benefits,” says Spiers. For example, he adds that the wrap allows producers to feed haylage more efficiently than regular bales because unwrapped round bales are too bulky for long-face forks.
Spiers adds that pre-harvest baled corn silage reduces the number of stalks in the round bale compared to conventional wrapped bales, which helps simplify harvest. “It’s important to remember that maximum benefit will be realized if there is no rain during harvest,” says Spiers.
However, not all feedstuffs are well suited for pre-harvest wrapping, says Spiers. For example, he says producers should avoid harvesting high-sugar feeds, such as corn with a sugar content greater than 22 percent and alfalfa haylage with more than 20 percent sugar content.
Silage wrap is an option for those who grow corn as their primary feed grain and can afford the investment, says Purdy. However, he adds that the wrap is more economical on farms with larger herds because more feed will be consumed, which reduces the cost per cow.
However, not all wraps are compatible with all equipment, and many producers need to make modifications before using a wrapped bale. “The best option is to work closely with a custom baler to ensure that the bale wrapper and equipment work together properly,” he says. Purdy adds that producers may need a different press wheel on a cutter bar or modifications made to the silage wrap Australia tower if additional wraps are needed after the feed is cut.