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Faster is Better!

by Randy Shannon

I've always loved the advice from the Old Farmers Almanac, "sooner begun, sooner done." I have taken great pains to quote it often enough to my children that I'm certain they will not only remember it, but tell their own children as well (when the time comes). As it turns out, this nugget applies to silos as well.

FASTER IS BETTER. At least it is when it comes to filling silos. University of Wisconsin personnel point out that rapid filling minimizes the risk of feed losses due to inclement weather and advancing maturity of the crop, reduces labor and overall ensiling costs and improves fermentation by minimizing exposure of the chopped forage to oxygen. Slow filling encourages fungal growth which can result in unstable silage at the time of feed out . When silage is stored in small-diameter silage bags (8 feet), the rate of fill may range from 50 tons to 200 tons per day. The filling rate of large-diameter silage bags (10 feet) and bunker silos (1,000-plus tons) can range from 100 tons to 500 tons per day.

Reprinted by permission from the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin. www.pdpw.org