How to Chop Silage
Do you know how to chop silage by fodder chopper? Silage is a harvested fodder that is fermented and stored, then used for livestock feed. After the silage is cut from the ground, it must be chopped and stored. Ideally, the silage will be held in compressed bags, which will cause the silage to ferment due to the lack of oxygen. Silage must be harvested carefully in order for the fermentation process to complete properly. Chopping the silage correctly involves careful preparation and concentration.
Things you’ll need:
Track mounted mower
Twine or rope
1. Cut the silage with a track-mounted mower from approximately an inch above the ground and place it in a pile.
2. Use a good chopping tool to prevent the silage from shredding and creating a more uniform chop. Silage may be chopped with a type of fodder chopper as required.
3. Judge the moisture content of the silage. The moisture content lets you know the stage of maturity of the silage at harvest. Silage that is too wet can lead to acid-type fermentation, which will decrease feed intake and might cause ketosis in cows. Silage that is too dry will result in significant air pockets that lead to poor fermentation and less beneficial acids for cows to use for meat and milk.
Ideally, the silage should contain between 60 to 70% moisture. Moisture can be measured with a microwave, a moisture tester, or a simple hand test. Hold the silage in your hand and squeeze tightly for 90 seconds. Loosen your grip. If the silage expands slowly and there is no dampness on your hands, the silage is good for chopping.
4. Place the silage pile on a hard surface where it will not matter if the knife cuts into it (such as logs).
5. Chop the silage to the correct length. Silage should be fine enough so that when it is packed, oxygen can be quickly eliminated for a good fermentation, but long enough for cud-chewing by cows. Alfalfa haylage should be 3/16 of an inch in length, unprocessed corn silage should be approximately 1/2 inch, and processed corn silage should be 3/4 inch.
6. Fill the chopped silage into plastic bags in layers without making any holes. You can use a regular plastic shopping bag, taking care to squeeze the bag of any excess air. Compress the bag and twist at the neck, tying it as tightly as possible with rope or twine so the silage is compacted. Triple-wrap the silage by placing the first bag into a second, and the second into a third, for extra protection and compression. The chopped silage can now be stored in a safe area where it will be protected from pests.