Madison, Wis. [August 2, 2012] – No matter if you’re talking about yourself or your animals – storing food properly is very important. Comparable to the use of Tupperware and plastic wrap that prevents mold and spoilage from ruining our leftovers, covering forage or grain at ensiling serves a very similar purpose.
Selecting the right covering and properly sealing your silage has a significant economic impact. Losses from unsealed or incorrectly sealed corn silage exceed a quarter billion dollars every year, says Keith Bolsen, professor emeritus at Kansas State University. “Farmers are losing money from spoiled silage, which has to be discarded, and from decreased nutritional value of the silage itself.”
To combat these losses, Bolsen recommends producers look to an oxygen barrier film when covering their silage. “Oxygen barrier film is 60 times more effective at protecting silage from oxygen than standard plastic covers,” notes Bolsen.
It is advised to look for the term “oxygen transmission rate” or OTR when selecting a covering material. Choose a product with a very low OTR number and ask for the test data that backs the number. “The lower the number, the less oxygen will get through,” explains Bolsen.
It’s also advisable to consider using a two-layer system to cover ensiled forage or grain. The first layer prevents oxygen from getting in and the second layer protects the oxygen barrier film from damaging ultraviolet light.
“With the price of feedstuffs today, producers can’t take a chance at leaving silage unprotected or using an inferior product. Oxygen barrier film pays for itself every time,” says Bolsen.
Click here for more advice on sealing bunkers and silage piles.