Rapid silage fermentation will reduce drymatter and energy losses associated with ensiling. Fermentation is an anaerobic (oxygen-free) process. The aim of the compaction process is to remove all the air out of the maize silage.
To achieve a good compaction:
- Harvest at 30-38% drymatter. Very wet or very dry crops are more difficult to compact well.
- Match the chop length to the harvest drymatter.
- Spread the chopped material into 100-150 mm layers. Thin layers compact to a higher density than thick layers. If large loads are being delivered to the stack or bunker site, dump it in front and spread it in thin layers.
- Fill the bunker or stack in a wedge shape. This will give good compaction and minimise the amount of time that maize silage is exposed to the air.
- Start compacting at the back of the bunker (1) and progress to the front of the bunker (6).
- Ensure that the compaction capacity matches the harvest rate. Compaction is a function of vehicle weight, rolling time and the depth of the chopped maize layers being compacted. Remember that wheeled vehicles have a higher weight per surface area and achieve better compaction than tracked vehicles of an equal weight. Increasing the weight of vehicles or the number of vehicles will help to avoid silage pile-ups.
- After the harvest has finished continue compacting until the surface is firm.