A University of Delaware study shows that lining the sidewalls of a bunker with an oxygen-barrier plastic prevented rain from infiltrating the silage at the sidewalls. This technique, in addition to covering the bunker with oxygen-barrier plastic and gravel bags, helped prevent dry matter loss.

Corn silage covered in this manner also had lower neutral detergent fiber than corn silage covered with regular (polyethylene) plastic and split tires.

More research is needed to evaluate the cost of covering a bunker with oxygen-barrier plastic versus regular plastic. However, it probably doesn’t matter what type of plastic you use to line the sidewalls, says Limin Kung, professor of ruminant nutrition at the University of Delaware, just so long as it doesn’t tear.

The graphic above shows how sidewalls lined with plastic prevent water from entering the silage at the sidewalls.