Submitted to: Hoard's Dairyman
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: May 19, 2006
Publication Date: July 1, 2006
Citation: Muck, R.E. 2006. Cut back your losses in bag silos. Hoard's Dairyman. p. 482-483. Technical Abstract: Bag silos have grown in popularity among dairy producers. However, there has not been much information on density and losses in such silos. In a survey of bag silos made at three research farms, we found that density was most affected by dry matter content, particle size and bagging machine setup. Drier forage and smaller particles resulted in higher dry matter densities. Losses were highly variable. Six of 39 bags had spoiled silage that was more than 15% of the original amount ensiled. One of the bags sustained substantial bird damage; another burst and had to be repaired. Five of the six bags were ensiled overly dry (>40% dry matter). Outside of these six bags, losses were greater under warm feedout temperatures, dry porous silages, long storage times and low feedout rates. Overall, low losses (<10%) are regularly achievable with bag silos with good management. However, substantial losses are also possible if recommended practices are not followed.