Dairy Science Department
BS in Dairy Science
This project involved an experiment conducted using a 550-ton capacity drive-over pile of whole-plant corn silage. The main effects compared were: packing the final forage surface with a loader or crawler, delay or immediate sealing, and covering with standard plastic or an oxygen barrier film.
Numerous studies have shown that the absence of oxygen in silage stored in a bunker silo or pile is crucial for proper fermentation and to ensure the highest quality silage at feed out. When oxygen is allowed to permeate through the covering material, it leads to visible spoilage. This trial showed that the oxygen barrier film reduced organic matter loss in the outer 18 inches of the pile and there was less visible spoilage compared to the silage covered with the standard plastic (8.3 percent difference in OM loss). When the crawler was used to pack the final surface compared to the loader, there was less organic matter loss in the outer layer of the pile (5.3 percent difference). By delaying 24 hours to seal the pile, the data showed that organic matter loss increased compared to sealing immediately (3.3 percent difference) as more oxygen was allowed to permeate the outer layer of forage, which prolonged the aerobic phase and slowed the fermentation process.
Silage packed with the crawler, sealed immediately, and covered with oxygen barrier film had higher nutritional quality in the outer 0 to 18 inches of the pile than silage packed with the loader, delay sealed, and covered with standard plastic.
Available for download on Thursday, March 14, 2019