5 Awesome Tips on How to Make Silage for Your Farm Animals
Silage is high moisture fermented fodder which is stored and ready to be fed to the cud-chewing animals such as goats, cattle and sheep. During summer, non-availability of fresh fodder becomes an overwhelming problem. Silage comes in to rescue the troubled farmer during such situations. In this post, we explore in brief, the steps on how to make silage as well as other tips you may need to know.
Tips on how to make silage that is high quality
- How is a Silo pit prepared?
The decision on the size of your silo pit should be arrived at after consideration of the following factors:
· How long the feeding period will last
· The animal’s body weight
· The number of your animals
· The fodder amount available
If you want to prepare a 7.0 quintal silage, you will need 1m3 silo pit on average. The silage should be adequately deep for exposure of less surface area to the total mass and better packing. In order to avoid water seepage, the silo pit should be at the highest spot. Ensure also that the walls are very strong. To prevent rainwater from entering the silo pit, ensure that the boundaries are significantly raised.
2. What are the most suitable types of crops to use during silage making?
Plants with adequate moisture content (60-65% moisture, 40-35% dry matter) and favorable sugar percentage are the best for preparing high-quality silage. Examples of these crops are hybrid Napier, maize, and oat among others. Leguminous plants such as cowpea and Lucerne are unsuitable unless you spray molasses on them during silo pit filling.
3. Tips during harvesting of the crop to be used in silage making
Crops should be harvested during their flowering or pre-flowering stage. It is also important to ensure that your crops do not contain more than 75% moisture during the time of harvesting. Dry the high moisture crops in the sunshine for about four hours or more to reduce the amount of moisture by 15 percent. You can also add 5-20% of the straw or dry hay. However, if the crop is extremely dry or too ripe, add some water during silo packing. Crops which have a hollow stem such as hybrid Napier and maize must be chaffed to a size of not more than an inch to prevent spillage of silage and air trapping.
4. What Else Do You Need To Add When Making the Silage?
Any of the following additives can be added when necessary:
Lime: This is added to increase acid production. Lime can be added 0.5 to one percent of the maize silage.
Molasses: When low sugar grasses and leguminous crops such as Lucerne are ensiled, molasses addition helps in the improvement of silage quality and palatability. Molasses should be added at the rate of 3.5 or 4% of the fresh forage.
Urea: Spraying urea enriches cereal forages with nitrogen content. Spraying of urea should be done at the rate of 0.5 or one percent of the fresh forage.
5. What Tips Do You Apply When Removing Silage from the Pit?
Silage should be ready for removal from the pit after a period of two to three weeks. Silage should be fed daily, layer after layer from the top immediately after opening the pit. Silage gets spoiled when exposed to air for longer periods of time, it’s therefore important to prevent air entry.
Here is the bottom line; if you don’t want to get troubled due to lack of feed for your animals during the summer season, don’t be afraid to go for silage making.
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