Research into the nutritional value of silage indicates that when properly made, with the right materials and machinery, and correctly stored, baled silage can show same or better quality, with less nutrient losses than either silage clamp or silo.
A well-made bale can have the advantage that less air is trapped than in a silage clamp or silo and, following the introduction of bale choppers, the cattle have little trouble tearing out mouthfuls of the baled product, leading to increased fodder intake and milk yields.
Same or better quality
Given the same grass and the same care, bale silage quality will be the same as or better than clamp silage. To compare the quality, the grass needs to be the same cut and given the same care. Poor handling and storage can also affect the quality of silage. Correctly made, baled silage can be the most successfully conserved forage as it has a fibre content and straw length that stimulates the appetite and rumination.
Low nutrient losses
Losses of net energy are inevitable during the fermentation of sugar to lactic acid. However all other losses such as residual respiration, silage effluents, mal-fermentation and aerobic reactions during storage and extraction can be avoided to a great extent.
Research by Per Lingvall at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science in Uppsala revealed that high quality bale silage only loses about 5% of its dry matter content. A prerequisite for this standard is its wrapping with six layers of white film and silage making according to well-established recommendations.
“In Sweden nutrient losses differ between systems,” observes Per Lingvall. In practice, during storage and unloading a tower or a bunker silo, average nutrient losses are calculated at:
10 – 15% in a tower
15 – 20% in a bunker silo
3 – 5% in a tightly wrapped bale with six layers of white high quality stretch film.