Silage tarps - protecting your profits!
Text by Patrick Dupuis, Agronomist. Translated by Kathleen Rivest.
Food is the heart of the success for your herd. Ensuring its quality is undeniable.
The number of dairy farms is diminishing and those remaining are getting bigger. In many companies, vertical silos are replaced by bunker silos, which allow farmers to store greater quantities of fodder for relatively low costs.
It's important to protect these harvests, which in this method of storage, it’s less exposed to the elements of Mother Nature.
Fodder stored in bunker silos must be covered by waterproof and opaque tarps. The primary objective is to reduce exposure to oxygen to increase the quality.
"The technology behind bunker silage wraps has greatly improved, mentions Dominic Cholette, sales representative for agricultural products at Sigma Stretch Films. Essentially, the wrap that we offer is black on one side and white, the other. The black side is placed on the fodder, completely blocking the light to create a blackout effect, preventing photosynthesis in the silage. The white side reflects the light and reduces the temperature inside the bunker."
The Sigma Stretch Film silage wrap for bunkers is composed of high quality polyethylene, a UV ray protector. These characteristics gives the product a higher resistance in harsh weather.
Another element to consider is how sealed the cement walls of the bunker are. Too many infiltrations can cause condensation inside the structure, warns Dominic Cholette. It's recommended to install protective tarps on the interior walls of the bunkers. These are made of the same high quality material that covers the fodder.
During harvesting, when new fodder is added in the bunker, you must compact it. This crucial step eliminates air pockets that impacts the quality. Bunkers should be sealed within 24 hours of filling it, states Dominic Cholette. "To avoid silage loss of 15 to 20%, an oxygen barrier wrap must be installed before the silage wrap. The transparent wrap hermetically seals the harvest by taking the shape of the fodder. This wrap will let humidity escape in the form of water vapors.
"Since it's difficult to install a transparent wrap separately from the protective wrap, many choices are available for a worry-free use, such as a folded and coiled 2-in-1 (or commonly known as a combination wrap) or a fusioned wrap. These wraps will maintain a fodder of the highest quality."
To make sure that your protective wrap doesn't lift with gusts of wind or that air penetrates the bunker, adding bunker tires, rubber mats or gravel bags on the full surface could be beneficial. Regularly checking the state of the silage wrap for any damages during the full season is important and should be a priority, advises Dominic Cholette .
Source : "Silage tarps - protecting your profits!" Coopérateur. September 2018: p. 42.