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HomeFarming News13 tips: ‘Use a slow tractor speed to produce well-packed bales’
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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13 tips: ‘Use a slow tractor speed to produce well-packed bales’

With estimated costs of €27-€37 to make silage bales in 2022, Teagasc has provided some tips for farmers to help them make better quality silage this season.

  1. Mow when dew has evaporated and wilt to a target of 30 to 35% DM;
  2. The aim is for dense, well-shaped bales with over 220kg DM per bale;
  3. Baler choppers increase DM per bale by 10-15%;
  4. Use a slow tractor speed to produce well-packed bales;
  5. Adjust the baler density setting to a high/maximum position;
  6. Use a recommended plastic wrap sourced from a reputable supplier;
  7. At least four layers of plastic are required for adequate preservation. Under good management conditions, the benefits of 6 layers are small;
  8. Avoid rough handling of unwrapped bales as this can cause them to lose shape. A bale lifter is preferable to a spike fortran sport;
  9. If you are storing bales for a prolonged period (9 months+), then 6 layers is advised;
  10. Ideally, transport bales to the final storage area before wrapping. Damage to wrap during transport is a significant source of DM loss;
  11. Bales you make from low DM or very leafy grass will lose shape when you stock them, increasing spoilage losses. Store on ground level instead;
  12. Check for damage and repair plastic on a regular basis;
  13. Aim to have bales consumed within two days at feed-out. Do not feed mouldy bales or parts of bales to livestock.
In summary:
  • Plan your grass silage strategy
  • Define the highest quality silage type required on the farm first;
  • Estimate the quantity of this silage quality needed;
  • Calculate area of first (and subsequent) cuts required to produce this silage;
  • Mark this area on the farm map and set the target cutting date(s);
  • Manage the remaining area to produce silage of standard quality.

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