Diary products are staple items that complete a balanced diet for Indians. We are in the midst of a fodder crisis that doesn’t cater to enough animal feed, resulting in poor animal health and low livestock yield. The crisis is expected to spread across India and soon, some of these precious foods could be missing from our plate, with forecasts that we even might have to import milk in a couple of years as well.
As you look to keep animal yield at a high standard and provide quality products to the market, either through organic or less harmful forage means, using the silage making process is a good start. It is a process of compressing processed forage which is packed and insulated to use during dry or drought seasons. As a scientific and result-proven method, silage bales eliminates the odds and risks in the fodder-production process.
Let’s understand key techniques for baled silage in India and how the process can shift India back into a fodder-surplus state:
1. Swathing & Baling Techniques
The first step is to develop quality crops that become the basis for a high quality baled silage (find suitable crops here). Swathing and baling is the second step in the process where a bundle of processed crops is wrapped in a cylindrical manner called a bale. The contents, therefore, should be uniformly swathed or layered and not bulge in certain areas as that would compromise the overall structure and lead to unnecessary tearing or handling problems.
Creating a habitual process that aligns with the farmer’s cadence of activity is necessary to ensure consistently and even distribution of crop flow into the baling machine. That way creating firm and compressed bundles can be created. Remember, the denser the fodder, fewer silage bales are needed and therefore, reduced packing & storage costs. The machine rolls the crop into layers for wrapping.
2. Procuring Quality Equipment for Silage Baling
Crops upon reaching maturity need to be harvested. use best silage equipment in India like Cornext’s Single Row Maize Harvester, popularly used to efficiently process forage. The crop must be mowed and baled/rolled within 1-2 days (within 48 hours). It is recommended to use a mower or a tedder during instances where heavy dew has moistened the grass to spread them out and ensure rapid evaporation.
As the silage making process continues, quality silage baler equipment must be used to roll the silage into uniform layers, compress it, and prepare it for the wrapping process. A silage baler machine-like Cornext’s Mini Silage Baler must be serviced regularly and before the season begins, apart from regular checks during peak operational periods. Consistent silage bales can be generated when aspects like ensuring free moving parts, especially the pre-stretch unit and turntable gears are monitored, cleaned and de-greased.
3. Benefits of Quality Wrapping
After baling comes wrapping, another critical part of the packing process where the silage, after being cured to reach the desired wilt and dried level is carefully sealed and insulated within plastic films that are specially designed to bear silage load.
Keep the below aspects in mind while packing to ensure that the silage bales stay at peak freshness levels until opened a few months later for us:
- Wrap under 3 hours after the silage baler machine generates the forage, to ensure minimal dry matter (DM) and negligible loss of quality silage.
- Use 3-6 layers of a film based on the end objective, duration of storage or the nature of transportation. The team shouldn’t compromise on wrapping to save costs, rather manage their risk their long-term benefits.
- The film layers should be plastered over the other without any air pockets using quality silage baler machines.
A global study done shows the rise in the value of milk output touch $5,600 when the dry matter silage quantity was improved by a margin of 1MJ ME/kg DM FROM 9.3 to 10.3.
4. Transporting & Stacking Practices
Experts who consult on baling and wrapping processes feel the latter should be done at the location of eventual storage unless there is the need to protect against an oncoming weather situation, or the bales need to be shifted to a distant storage location. Careful handling by workers might prevent significant damage to their bales during transportation, but the number of packing layers must be proportional to the length and condition of the terrain (the rougher the terrain, the thicker the packaging).
Also, care must be taken about how multiple bales are stacked to manage space constraints at the storage location. Missing timelines or leaving a half-finished set of wraps on the field during the silage making process can cause huge headaches such as pests tearing into the bundles. For stacking, unwilted bales are not recommended to be stacked. Wilted bales can be stacked on the curved side.
5. Loss-Minimisation Guidelines
Given the intensive nature of the silage making process and the cost-incurring nature of operations and maintenance, mitigating any potential losses across the length of the process is critical. For example, uneven silage bales from poor wrapping can cause the silage to decay. The storage area should be cleaned, have no liquid seepages and have a layer of polythene packing under the stack. Other handy precautions include significant fencing of the storage area, and not placing bales near watercourses, given effluents for bales with low dry matter could seep and pollute the water bodies.
Let us pick up the reference from the study mentioned earlier. It reveals how a 15% reduction in harvesting and storage losses (from 25%-10%) resulted in an increase of $10,000 in income through the extra milk produced.
Packing and securing the highest quality of fodder prepared in your farms must involve a high-quality process, almost similar to preparing and securing a high-luxury item like an exquisite painting or a rare food item like caviar. Compromising on even something considered non-essential like a reduced plastic film layer for your silage bales even when you own a good silage baler machine can result in unexpected losses, reducing the final silage quantity needed by your livestock.
Research by CEDAR in England showed 9% of total fresh bale weight wasted when wrapped in 4 layers. For those wrapped in 6-8 layers, the wastage was under 1%. Cornext in India is an industry leader in baled silage manufacturer. Cornext is a pioneer of baled silage solutions in India offering highly nutritious preserved baled silage available throughout the year along with Silage Baler Machines. Contact us for any information on corn silage for sale and Silage Harvester machines for sale in India and across the globe.