Silage Covers are a layer of plastic sheeting that is laid over feed stores and grain bunkers in order to prevent spoilage or degradation of silage. Silage or Bunker covers protect feed from both UV and weather damage. Silage covers are typically 5 mil or thicker rolled plastic sheeting.
Our Silage Covers are dual sided with white on one side and black on the other. This coloring is specifically designed to preserve the feed with the white reflecting UV light on the outside and the black keeping the feed cool underneath.
The 5 mil or 6 mil silage covers are used to protect your silage while being stored. Protecting your silage helps to reduce dry matter shrinkage, spoilage, nutrient loss, and increases aerobic stability on the feed-out face of your pile.
The 2 mil Oxygen Barrier film should also be used in conjunction with the Silage Cover. The oxygen barrier is non-permeable and clings to the feed, helping to prevent the outside air from entering and spoiling the silage.
Longview Supply offers a combination Oxygen Barrier and Silage Cover called HytiDouble Cover. The HytiDouble is convenient to install and already has the oxygen barrier combined with the silage cover to make for a quick and easy install over your feed.
For larger orders or questions related to these products please call us at 800-621-5381.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Silage?
What crops can be used to make Silage?
Are Hay and Silage different?
Can Silage Covers be reused?
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What is Silage?
Silage is a kind of fodder made from crops preserved by acidification accomplished from fermentation. It’s fed to cattle, sheep, and other grazing animals. The fermentation and storage process is known as ensilage.
What crops can be used to make silage?
It can be made from grass crops which include maize, sorghum, or cereals by using the entire green plant, not just the grain. Silage can be made from many different field crops. Special terms may apply depending on the kind of oats or alfalfa from haylage. Haylage may refer to high dry matter silage that’s made from hay.
What’s The Difference Between Hay And Silage?
Hay is grass cut and dried to use for animal food where silage is fermented green forage feed stored in a silo. The moisture content in hay is at tops 20% while the moisture in silage is between 40 to 60%.
Both are different kinds of crops to feed livestock during the winter as animals are not able to graze during that time. Both crops are made from grass and considered a preservation method for food.
What You Should Know About Silage Plastics To Prevent Damage Of Silage
Your goal is to prevent oxygen from seeping into silage during storage and feed out periods. Silage plastic and bunker covers are critical in preventing oxygen from damaging the silage. By keeping oxygen out will decrease dry matter losses from seepage and will protect silage nutrients.
According to national agricultural statistics, the United Stages produced 117.85 tons of corn silage and 18.45 million tons of alfalfa haylage in 2013. Unfortunately, 16 to 20% of these forages never made it from the bunker silo or drive-over pile to the feed bunk. That’s a loss of approximately 1.4 to 1.8 billion dollars of feed inventory. The leading culprit is poorly covered silage.
Doing a better job of protecting the surface of bunkers and piles, you can reduce the loss of feed inventory by an amazing 200 to 450 million dollars each year. In order to reduce loss, it’s critical you choose the right plastic to produce a proper seal. Here are some of the leading questions you should ask yourself:
Questions You Should Ask When Covering Silage
- How quickly after the filling is completed should you cover your bunker?
- Are you applying a two-layer system?
Why Is The Transmission Rate Of Oxygen Important When Choosing A Plastic?
The measurements used to calculate the effectiveness of plastic from keeping oxygen out is known as the oxygen transmission rate or OTR. Laboratory test results using the American Standard Test Method (ASTM) have shown that silage plastics have an enormous range in OTR, from approximately 6000 cubic centimetres to less than 30 cubics per square meter within 24-hours in a 100% oxygen environment. The lower the number, the less oxygen will get through the plastic creating a higher level of protection.
This is not about doubling the layers of plastic to prevent oxygen from getting through. An excellent oxygen barrier film with a melted nylon layer and a 1.6 – 2.0 mil thickness can produce an OTR of 80-200 compared to the OTR of 4,000-4,3400 from a standard white on black silage plastic with five mil thickness. It will take 54 sheets of regular dual-colored bunker cover to equal one sheet of oxygen barrier film to be effective.
How Oxygen Barrier Film Works
Oxygen barrier films prevent more oxygen from passing through the protective plastic covering which first minimizes aerobic respiration and then continues to prevent aerobic spoilage throughout the entire storage and feed out periods.
Oxygen barrier film provides a good seal by following the contours of the surface, clean to forage, and filling in the gaps. This will help eliminate visible surface spoilage. In contrast, standard plastic traps oxygen underneath, causing surface spoiled silage.
Bunkers and piles should be immediately sealed after filling is completed. The most effective way is to use a two-layer system. The first layer and oxygen barrier fill will prevent oxygen penetration while the second layer with standard plastic, protects the oxygen barrier film from becoming damaged by ultraviolet light.
How much oxygen barrier film will reduce dry matter loss in bunkers and piles?
Field trial results and university research have shown that an oxygen barrier film will reduce dry matter loss in the original outer 123 feet of silage and haylage by 40 to 50% compared to standard white on black plastic. A recently published meta-analysis that included 41 trials found DM and organic matter losses in the original top .422-feet of bunker silos and drive-over piles resulted in, 19.5% for standard plastic and 11.4% for oxygen barrier film.
Using an oxygen barrier film to seal can reduce the total DM loss by 2.5 to 5%, depending on the size of the bunker silo or drive-over pile.
What are the financial benefits of sealing with an oxygen barrier film?
The financial benefits of sealing with an oxygen barrier film have proven to be well documented. A bunker silo of corn silage with a capacity of 3,000 tons, which is 50-feet wide, 220-feet long, and depth of 12-feet with an above-average density ceiling with oxygen barrier film will result in a savings of $3,000 to $5,000 more silage compared to a standard white on black 5 mil plastic.
Discussing a drive-over pile of corn silage with a 3000-ton capacity which is 50-feet wide at the base, 210-feet long, with an apex height of 14-feet and above-average density, sealing with oxygen barrier film will produce a net savings of $4,500 to $9,000 more silage compared to a standard white on black 5 mil plastic.
You should consider the financial impact of feeding surface spoiled corn silage or alfalfa haylage to dairy cows and replacement heifers. There are bigger savings with an oxygen barrier film.
Consider safety first! The bottom line, it’s far too dangerous to pitch surface spoiled silage off the top of most bunkers and piles. When used properly, an oxygen barrier film can eliminate the need to remove spoiled silage.