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|Corn silage density and dry matter loss: Why and how to make your customers more dense|
|Written by PD Editor Karen Lee|
|Monday, 14 March 2011 11:21|
This presentation was made at the Vita Plus Custom Harvester Meeting, held Feb. 23-24, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. Click here to see all of the presentations from the meeting.
Both upright silos were filled slowly on an Amish operation. There was no significant difference in terms of loss throughout the nine bags in the silo. Overall, dry matter loss was a little under 3 percent.
The 36 to 42 bags used in the sidewall plastic sealed bunker silos did have some difference in their results. There was lower dry matter and lower density on the outside compared to the center, but no difference in dry matter loss from the edges to the center.
When compared top to bottom, dry matter was significantly wetter on top. (It is important to note that this producer preferred to pack wet material on top as a means for better compaction.)
Density in the bunker was much lower on top (9.5 pounds per cubic foot) than on the bottom (16.8 pounds per cubic foot).
Because of the lower density, the top third of the bunk had greater dry matter losses (11.7 percent) than the lower third (5.6 percent). Dry matter losses were also greater toward the front of the bunker (9.2 percent) than at the rear (7.3 percent).
Bunkers packed in August and September recorded losses of 8.4 and 8.5 percent, respectively, while those packed in October and November had respective losses of 7.1 and 6.8.
BMR silage had a density of 14.0 pounds of dry matter per cubic foot compared to conventional at 12.9 pounds per cubic foot in the same year.
Ambient air temperature may have affected dry matter losses. Both dry matter density and dry matter loss may be affected by the type of corn (conventional versus BMR).
Combining the dry matter content and density of silage cores may be a useful method to estimate corn silage shrink. However, estimates probably will not equal total dry matter loss.
Griswold listed these factors:
Click here to find an equation that will help you predict your packing power. And click here for even more resources, including the "Bunker Silo Density Calculator" and "Silage Pile Density Calculator."
In most cases the only time densities were close to 14 or 15 pounds per cubic foot were on the bottom layer of the bunker.
The structure’s height dictates the silage height, and the bunker size may limit the size or number of tractors that can be used. Silage delivery rate should be a balance between chopper capacity and the packing tractor(s) capacity.
An experienced operator is critical in keeping a thin layer, knowing when to stop and operating close to the walls.