In this week’s Farm Hacks series, ahead of ‘Silage 2023’, we take a look at film and film bale binding, which follows on from our recent article this week on ‘not one bad silage bale’ out of 800 on 120-cow dairy farm, which you can read via this link.
The relatively new Film & Film (F&F) system is an innovative dual wrapping method, which combines the use of SilotitePro balewrap and Baletite netwrap replacement film, writes farming journalist, Catherina Cunnane.
According to the company, this results in better-shaped and more compact bales, which can better withstand handling and have a longer storage life.
Using baler film instead of netwrap, the F&F wrapping system helps to reduce silage losses, virtually eliminating mould growth and preventing silage from becoming enmeshed during feed out.
By using film to bind the bale together, removal and recycling of the film are made easier as the farmer is only left with one product to recycle and can avoid the time-consuming job of separating netwrap from the stretch film.
Baletite enhances the ensiling process and protects the contents of the bale by creating additional layers of protection around the bale.
It provides an air barrier that helps to prevent the growth of white mould, which can cause valuable silage losses.
Using Baletite as an alternative to netwrap results in “better-shaped bales, by exerting a tighter grip around the bale circumference”, the spokesperson added.
SilotitePro1800 offers farmers and contractors several benefits, including more bales per reel, time savings and enhanced silage quality.
Designed for professional users with high output bale wrappers with 20% more bales wrapped per reel, so even less downtime.
Its unique sleeve packaging means that SilotitePro1800 has less packaging material, with no bulky boxes to move around and recycle separately.
The packaging is made of the same material as the film inside, so it can all be recycled together.
An 1800m reel – which is of additional length – allows users to produce 20% more bales per reel, according to the firm.
A spokesperson commented: “The resultant cost savings are further enhanced by a reduction in the reel changes necessary.”
“Un-boxing and changing a reel takes approximately 7 minutes, so a contractor wrapping, say, 350 bales a day can save around 30 minutes daily.”
Trials undertaken by ILVO (Instituut voor Landbouw – en Visserijonderzoek / Institute for Research in Agriculture and Fisheries) in Belgium have found that Film&Film System bales were on average 2cm smaller in circumference than traditionally netwrapped bales in addition to being 10% denser.
Independent trial results
Dr. Dave Davies of Silage Solutions Ltd, who acts as an independent consultant to silage advisory centres, has obtained trial results in Britain for the Film & Film system.
Dr. Davies is a well-known forage expert and is a former Senior Research Scientist at the Institute of Grassland & Environmental Research (IGER) at Aberystwyth in Wales.
Indeed, an independent trial he conducted on a commercial farm in England demonstrated that the Film & Film-wrapped bales had:
- 5% fewer DM losses compared to netwrap bales due to enhanced fermentation;
- 80% fewer DM losses compared to netwrap bales due to mould formation on the bale;
- An overall 52% reduction in DM losses compared to netwrap bales.
The spokesperson concluded:
“The reduced losses that resulted through the use of the Film & Film wrapping system means that the farmer had more forage to feed to his/her herd.”
“For example, a dairy farmer could gain an average of 5.7kg DM per Film & Film bale, so the 67.26 MJ ME on average gained for each of the bales could give an additional 11.6 litres of milk production.”
“Or for a cattle farmer, each bale could give an additional 1.5 kgs of beef production,” the spokesperson concluded.