I recall a conversation I had with a hay grower at the 2011 World Ag Expo. This gentleman and his wife traveled from New Mexico, award winners in the Lallemand/Biotal-sponsored Forage Contest. He obviously knew what he was doing with alfalfa growing, but a few interesting minutes into our conversation I found out he was an expert at something else too.
Fatalities on dairy farms are never easy to swallow, and the serious injures that occur are frightening. Either way, people – real people like you and me – end up living their lives with a daily reminder. A limp, a scar, chronic pain, fear, and at worst, the emptiness of a chair at the family table.
Silage piles and bunkers are necessary, but they must be made safely, sampled safely, managed safely. Physics prove that the denser piles are packed, the less likely they are to avalanche. There are precautions that should be taken – even on the best density piles.
Order copies of our Silage Safety Coloring Books - they make a great employee meeting as well as kids' learning activity. Download the lesson plan for 4-H groups, FFA chapters, etc.
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Silage safety should be first on your list, because if you make and manage piles to be safe, your silage is very likely to be quality feed, and chances are good you’ll have more of it. Safe silage and great silage go hand in hand.
We teamed up with Dr. Keith Bolsen several years ago to introduce oxygen barrier film and the idea of higher density. The outcome is better silage but also safer silage. We are proud to be founding members of the Keith Bolsen Silage Safety Foundation. The Bolsens tirelessly reach out, providing silage safety information.
And the New Mexico hay grower? He is also a fireman. “When we get a call about a silage pile, more often than not it’s a call for a rescue; but before we get there, status changes to a recovery.”
An empty chair at the family table.