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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVING NUTRIENT DIGESTIBILITY TO ENHANCE FORAGE UTILIZATION IN LACTATING DAIRY COW FEEDING SYSTEMS Title: Silostop Bunker Covers

Author
item Muck, Richard

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 16, 2010
Publication Date: February 16, 2010
Citation: Muck, R.E. 2010. Silostop Bunker Covers. In: Proceedings of the 2010 Idaho Alfalfa and Forage Conference, February 16-17, 2009, Burley, ID. p. 65-67.

Technical Abstract: The quality of the seal provided by the plastic cover is a key issue for minimizing losses in bunker and pile silos. Most bunker covers are 6 to 8 mil polyethylene sheets held in place by tires or tire sidewalls. Frequently there are problems with spoilage at the shoulders (i.e., against the walls), and sometimes one finds spoilage immediately below the plastic across the whole top. A covering system relatively new to the U.S. is a two-step Silostop system. The primary element of this system is a plastic film with an oxygen permeability 1/20 that of polyethylene. It is not only used on top of the bunker but is also used to cover the bunker walls. After filling is done, the plastic film from the walls is lapped onto the top of the bunker and a top sheet is placed over the whole top surface. A plastic mesh tarp is used cover the top plastic film, providing UV and animal protection, and gravel bags secure the film and tarp. This system has been tested in both alfalfa and corn silage bunkers, compared against a standard white polyethylene film held in place with tires and tire sidewalls and no sidewall plastic. In five of six trials the Silostop system reduced losses near the wall compared with white polyethylene. Losses under the middle of the sheets were similar between the two films. Overall, this new system can eliminate visibly spoiled silage underneath the film provided that it is installed properly.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014