Maize for Silage
MOVING MAIZE SILAGEBack to Technical Insights
While the best option is to stack maize silage close to where it will be used, sometimes it is necessary to relocate the contents of a maize silage bunker or stack after it has fermented. Moving maize silage re-exposes it to the air and there is a risk of significant losses of both drymatter and quality. This technical bulletin outlines management strategies to minimise the losses associated with moving maize silage.
CONSIDER STORAGE AND INOCULANT OPTIONS AT HARVEST TIME
If it is possible that the stack will be moved, make sure that the chopped maize is inoculated with a silage inoculant that contains Lactobacillus buchneri (e.g. Pioneer® brand 11C33 or 11CFT). Normally inoculants that contain Lactobacillus buchneri are used to extend the time before heating when silage is exposed to the air at feed-out time but they can also be used to help reduce the amount of heating when silage is moved from one storage structure to another.
MOVING MAIZE SILAGE
It is is important to follow the guidelines below if you are planning to move the maize silage stack.
- Prepare the new bunker or stack site in advance. Purchase a new cover and salt for the top of the stack. There is no advantage in using bacterial inoculants on material that has already fermented.
Work quickly to minimise silage exposure to the air. Peel back the cover to expose just enough silage to transfer in the load. Remove the material using a loader or digger taking care not to scrape too close to dirt floors or walls.
- Work quickly to minimise silage exposure to the air. Peel back the cover to expose just enough silage to transfer in the load. Remove the material using a loader or digger taking care not to scrape too close to dirt floors or walls.
- Fill in a wedge shape. Fill the new bunker or stack in a wedge shape (Figure 1) to minimise silage exposure to the air and ensure good compaction.
Figure 1: Filling in a wedge shape
- Compact thoroughly. Spread each load into a 100 - 150 mm layer so that it can be compacted properly. If large loads are being delivered to a stack site, dump the loads in front of the stack. Build the stack by taking small loads to the stack layering as you go to achieve the desired shaping.
- Apply salt. The application of 1 - 2 kg/m² of salt to the surface area of the stack will reduce the spoilage of maize silage immediately under the cover. While salt is considered optional when harvesting and storing maize silage under normal conditions, it is a necessity when moving and re-stacking maize that has already fermented.
- Cover and seal quickly. The quicker the environment of the stack becomes anaerobic after the sealing of the cover the lower will be any loss in feed value. Use a high-quality cover and seal around the base of silage stacks by placing a layer of sand or lime. Weigh down your silage cover firmly with tyres that are touching or sandbags placed closely together.
- Rats, mice and pukekos. Keep the area around the stack tidy and free of long grass and weeds where rats and mice can reside. Place rat baits in bait stations on the ground at each side of the stack. If pukekos have caused damage to stacks in the past and are present in big numbers, consider getting a permit from Fish and Game if these need to be controlled. Treat any holes that appear in the cover with a handful of salt onto the silage inside the hole and seal the hole with silage cover tape.
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Revised: Jan 2020
Expires: Jan 2022