A Slow Start To The Grass Season6/5/2021
Grass growth across the UK is being hampered by cold and dry conditions and in Scotland some areas are still seeing snow showers.
This could make 2021’s silage crop more challenging, ‘though it is early days, and we hope that the weather, especially overnight temperatures, pick up in the next few weeks’, says William Wilson, Business Development Director for ARK Agriculture.
The pressure on grass growth makes preserving any precious silage made more important than ever. It could also lead to more people wanting to cut silage multiple times later in the year to catch up with missing volume.
ARK Agriculture is suggesting that farmers look again at the covers they are using and consider investing in better single layer oxygen barrier silage sheets and silage nets, such as OXY SEAL™ and Secure Covers to help this process.
‘Making good silage is an art form. Avoiding losses in the clamp is very much a jigsaw and a significant part of reducing waste is the way you sheet the clamp’.
‘Silage sheeting is the easiest controllable,’ he adds. ‘You can’t control the weather, but you can control the sheets you use’.
A tougher single layer oxygen barrier silage sheet, such as OXY SEAL™, can be used multiple times on the same clamp in the year.
‘Unlike delicate cling film layers or the budget black plastics we know that a stronger silage sheet can be taken off the clamps, a new cut added and then re-covered with the same sheet’, adds Mr Wilson.
He advises against the use of the same sheets over multiple years though as bacteria from silage on sheets that have already been used could contaminate new silage.
An oxygen barrier silage sheet is a plastic that contains EVOH resins, which stop the transmission of oxygen. A true oxygen barrier silage sheet will have an oxygen transmission rate (OTR) close to zero.
For example, OXY SEAL™ has an OTR of 2cm³/cm²/24 hours. An OTR of 10+cm³/cm²/24 hours is not an effective barrier and will not achieve the same results.
Silage nets should be knitted not woven, designed to stay on the clamps in high winds, UV stable and should be weighed down using gravel bags instead of tyres.
You can find out more about ARK Agriculture and their silage storage options online www.arkagriculture.com