Best practice for storing silage bales

Best practice for storing silage bales

When storing wrapped bales it is critical that the plastic cover stays intact. It is an oxygen barrier and therefore affects silage quality.

DM losses; as soon as oxygen penetrates silage it will deteriorate. It is estimated that a 3mm hole will cause 8% loss of edible silage and a 24mm hole 33% loss of edible silage within 6 months. Mold will develop because oxygen supports mold growth.

Recommendations how to handle silage bales:

  • Always handle with care, when lifting and moving bales. Use purpose built bale handler to grab bales, move slowly and don’t drop bales.
  • When moving the bales by trailer, cover any sharp edges with tarpaulin or matting and handle gently. Any damage must be repaired immediately using a suitable UV protected tape.
  • Stack bales as soon as possible after wrapping and certainly within 24 hours. Remember that field – wrapped bales in particular are prone to bird damage from the moment they are wrapped.
  • Choose a storage site away from trees and very exposed areas.
  • Store bales on even surface without any sharp objects; If practical, a sand base layer is recommended. Ideally, roll out a protective layer of strong polythene sheeting underneath the stack
  • Store round bales with flat end up. When bales are stacked, ensure that bottom layer is not squeezed. Lower drymatter bales should be stored in single layer. Ideally not more than 2 layers max 3.
  • Protect bales from cattle, pets and vermin, e.g. fencing, ensure rodent control around bale area and nets on top.
  • Any puncture needs to be repaired immediately with bale tape. Regularly control bales and patch holes if necessary.
Best practice storing silage bales Kirkpatrick feed