Managing Your Silage at Feed out

Nov 16, 2020

Tara Jo Bina
Countryside Feed Sales & Nutrition Professional
Managing your face is very important, and were not talking about controlling your facial expressions when aunt Deloris comments on the extra slice of pumpkin pie you had at Thanksgiving dinner this year. No, were talking about managing your silage face!
Properly putting up silage is no small feat. Monitoring moisture, chopping, inoculating, packing, and covering; it is a stressful process to get the best feed possible. Now that your silage has fermented and is ready to feed, don’t risk ruining all that hard work and planning by not managing your face! Here are a few tips for feeding silage to get the most out of your feed:
  1. Only cut back the amount of plastic needed
The purpose of covering silage is to minimize oxygen exposure that leads to growth of yeasts and molds. Only cutting back the amount of plastic to access the silage you will need that feeding, allows the plastic to continue to do its job!
  1. Get rid of moldy silage before loading
Even when silage is put up properly and is covered, there can still be a surprising amount of spoiled feed on the top of the pile. This spoiled feed contains yeasts and molds that can cause many health problems in cattle. Taking a few extra minutes to scoop off the moldy silage can save you the time and expense of treating or even losing an animal.
  1. Maintain as flat, and smooth of a silage face as possible
Limiting oxygen exposure is a common theme of this article. A flat silage face minimizes surface area, which exposes less silage to oxygen!
  1. Drag silage off of the face in a downward motion then scoop it up with the loader
This is a commonly overlooked aspect of properly feeding corn silage. The purpose of packing, packing, and packing some more is to squeeze out as much oxygen as possible. Many producers will actually loosen this packing several feet back from the face by digging directly into the face low, and lift up with the loader, allowing oxygen to seep into the silage. Knocking down silage off of the face, then scooping it up with the loader helps to maintain the hard work put in packing your silage!
  1. Monitor the beginning and end of bags and piles closely
Ends of silage storage can be a troublesome time of feed out. The beginning and end of bags and piles are harder to get proper packing, therefore, resulting in extra spoilage. Just like spoilage on top of silage, it is safest to discard spoiled feed instead of feeding through it.
  1. Test your silage often
The beautiful part of feeding silage, is it continuously changes and improves in feed value. Sampling silage and staying in contact with your nutritionist throughout silage feed out can be huge assets! They can help make ration adjustments based on changing moisture, and nutrient profile of silage to really get the most out of your feed! A nutritionist will also be able to help trouble shoot if you do run into problems with yeasts and molds while feeding silage.
Contact your Countryside Feed representative to learn more about feeding silage, getting a sample analyzed, or to trouble shoot problems with feeding silage!

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