Maximising the nutritional value of wholecrop wheat, barley and rye will be doubly important in 2020, according to Horizon Seeds’ Jim Juby.
“Feed of all types will be in short supply this year, due to the cold spring that limited early grass growth and then the May drought.
“So producers must ensure that losses are not multiplied through poor harvesting and clamp management or taking short cuts with ensiling,” he says. “Particular care must be taken with clamp management to minimise losses and producers should take advantage of the latest innovations in covers and oxygen barriers."
The use of clingfilm under conventional black polythene has helped improve preservation of silage in recent years, it’s not the most efficient system.
Mr Juby explains that using traditional 125-micron black plastic with 40-micron cling film on a typical 20 metre by 35 metre clamp uses 95kg of plastic. With the thinner 80-micron oxygen barrier Silsostop Max this will be reduced to just 58kg.
“It’s a good option for wholecrop because it’s proven to work well for multi-cut grass silage system, allowing the sheet to be taken off and put back on the pit five or six times with no damage.”
He says that producers could also consider investing in a heavier and more durable cover. The SupaCova Pro UV can be used with the ultra-thin 45-micron Silostop Orange film.
The cover weighs 250g/m2, which holds the oxygen barrier sheet in place with a weight of just 34kg for the film on a 20 metre by 35 metre clamp.
“This is a third of the weight of conventional black plastic sheeting and cling film, and the cover has a lifespan of 10 years,” says Mr Juby.
“The cover provides 95% shading compared to conventional nets, which offer only 55%, so potential UV breakdown of the oxygen barrier is minimised and damage by birds and rodents is also minimised.”
All Silostop films can be recycled using normal farm plastic collection services.