Warmer weather creates a need for more careful management of silage to prevent spoilage and preserve feed quality. Experts at Pioneer Hi-Bred say higher temperatures increase heat and spoilage to the bunker face, potentially representing up to 40 percent of the total dry matter and energy losses that occur in silage. And the energy lost during aerobic deterioration is the most highly digestible energy in the silage, having an energy value similar to grain.
“Depending on compaction, air can penetrate up to a foot into the silo face,” says Steve Soderlund, PhD, Pioneer nutritionist and livestock information manager. “Once silage is exposed to oxygen, the clock has started ticking on the nutritional value of the silage. To minimize these losses, producers need to feed at least 6 inches or more off the face daily.” Using a silo facer to remove a uniform amount from the face of the pile helps reduce exposure to oxygen. When using a front-end loader, Soderlund recommends removing silage in a downward motion or by moving across the face horizontally, scraping off a thin layer to avoid disturbing the silage mass. He also reminds producers to keep loose silage cleaned up on the face of the silo.