Poor Silage Costly to UK Livestock Farmers

With farmers now well into this seasons’ silage clamp stocks, it’s timely to consider silage cover options for 2017 in a bid to improve farm profitability.

“As many farmers tackle issues relating to waste silage, it should be a stark reminder that investment in clamp management can be extremely cost-effective,” says Jennifer Hitchman, technical manager, Silostop.

Jennifer Hitchman

Jennifer Hitchman

“Handling and disposing of waste silage, in terms of both labour and lost dry matter, should not be ignored. Add to that the effect of feeding poor silage on animal performance, and it quickly becomes apparent what a financial drain this inferior feed has on a business.

“In fact, if you consider a typical maize silage clamp, and using a value of £60/t, you can save over £3000 in dry matter value in the top 1metre when simply adopting to use one layer of Silostop barrier film over a layer of clamp film and regular plastic,” explains Jennifer. “And this isn’t taking into account the savings associated with the aerobic stability, the improved hygiene of the forage such as reduced yeasts, moulds and mycotoxins and the reduction in the inedible silage that is thrown.

“The saving in dry matter alone equates to a return on investment of roughly 9:1; which highlights how simple measures can make a tremendous difference to the bottom line,” she adds.

“Acceptance within the industry that you typically have huge dry matter losses and a layer of waste silage on your clamp has to be changed. Its incredibly costly to livestock farmers, and can be significantly reduced with a change in the silage storage management system.

“It’s widely understood that reducing the oxygen that enters the silage, results in reduced dry matter losses and deteriorated silage. Therefore farmers should look to invest in systems that protect the silage from oxygen.

“Forage is a huge financial asset to livestock farmers. It makes sense to maximise its potential by paying attention to the details. Using the best plastic film for the forage will ensure you reduce waste and save on the additional costs occurred due to removing that waste,” Jennifer adds.

“A notable cost incurred by reduced efficiency of home grow forage is that of increased bought in feed. Milk and meat production from home grown forage is far more profitable than produced from bought in feed, giving yet another reason to focus on clamp management.

“Silostop’s award winning oxygen barrier film is used worldwide and gives farmers the opportunity produce the best quality silage,” concludes Jennifer. “I would strongly encourage farmers to consider investing in this film for better returns.


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