12-Step Silage Success System
Does your product supplier offer new science or do they just sell you stuff?
Silage is a profitable ration's start - whether your goal is more pounds of milk, or greater daily gains. Do a better job and maybe you won't need to worry as much about feed intervention.
Consistent use of silage-making fundamentals saves money and yields more high quality feed. We know you don't want to waste one cent you put into growing or buying silage. We can help you design and use a sound silage-making and management plan that works for you.
Use this 12 - step checklist as a base. It's nothing fancy - just fundamentals based on science. The more steps you take, the better your outcome. Do as much as you can with your crop, your resources, and what Mother Nature gives you.
You can make this harvest your best ever. Please contact us - we're here to help.
1. EVALUATE - Last year's silage - is it "great" or just "good enough"? Are your animals healthy, productive, and converting feed into milk or meat at their genetic best? Seed selection, growing practices, harvest dry matter (DM), inoculant choice and application, kernel processing, chop length, packing density, sealing issues, safety - what works and how can you improve?
2. PLAN - Set silage goals - ask us, your nutritionist or another experienced advisor for help.
- Final digestibility - what levels, at what cost, and what will it take to attain them?
- Estimate tonnage per field - helpful for ordering inoculant and sealing, estimating fill rates, packing equipment needed, and personnel.
- Order fields by probable maturity and dry matter.
- Set goals for DM, chop length, kernel processing, packing density, inoculants, and covering.
- Tour the storage area. Set pile or bunker area sizes and location. Don't think you have enough room for safe drive over piles? Can you clear weeds, old equipment, etc. to find room?
3. GATHER YOUR TEAM - If you hire it out, meet with silage chopping and/or covering contractors. State goals for:
- Harvest timing
- Inoculant procedure
- Fill rate expectations
- Extra equipment needed; especially for packing
- Test procedures and parameters for DM, kernel processing and particle size (chop length)
4. PREPARE - Equipment, pads, and tires and/or gravel bags. Note seed variety growth and progress to plan for next season's planting.
5. ORDER - Silage inoculant and pile or bunker sealing film (if you cover your own).
6. SAFETY - Host an all-employee silage safety meeting. Notify neighbors of trucks and increased traffic. Issue safety vests if not already an SOP, and make sure employees know to where them at all times.
7. MONITOR - Set up to test hourly: DM, kernel processing, particle size (chop length). Too dry? Stop for the day, adjust field order, and/or inoculant choice as needed. Correct chopper kernel processing and particle size settings as needed.
8. START! If you use a covering contractor, call now. Estimate when covering should take place and update as needed. Be aware that a fresh crew first thing in a calm morning may be better than a tired crew on a windy night.
9. SEAL - Seal piles or bunkers as soon as possible, leaving at least a 3-foot film "hem" to seal the edges.
10. MANAGE - Practice safe, smart face management after opening the silage pile or bunker.
11. EVALUATE - What steps did you take? How did harvest go? What worked? What would you do differently?
12. PLAN FOR NEXT YEAR - Begin researching next year's seed corn options and note any product or program improvements to be made.
© 2018 Connor Agriscience