November 27, 2002 | By: Gidget High, Ag. Communications Intern

Kentucky farmers harvest forage, traditionally hay, each year to feed livestock during winter. Baled silage can improve the quality of these stored forages by eliminating most weather - related losses associated with hay production.

"Making round bale silage in Kentucky is not a new technique, " said Jimmy Henning, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Extension forage specialist. "The purpose of the video is to tell you the things that we think you need to know in order to be successful in using this technique."

"One of the greatest advantages to round bale silage technology is that it allows us to cut the crop and put it in storage, without having to wait on Mother Nature to provide adequate curing conditions," said David Ditsch, UK Extension forage management specialist.

A new instructional video: Round Bale Silage has been produced by the UK Agricultural Communications Services. The program was developed by UK agronomists, David Ditsch, Mike Collins and Jimmy Henning.

There are a few things needed in order to be successful in baling, wrapping and using round bale silage. When cutting silage, allow it to wilt to 40 to 70 percent moisture. Baling in tight uniform bales and wrapping it in four to six layers of stretch-film plastic excludes oxygen. Doing this allows the bales to be stored for longer periods of time.

There are different types of wrappers, mainly the platform wrapper and the inline wrapper. With the platform wrapper 18 to 20 turns of the bale are needed to apply four layers of plastic. The inline wrapper uses less plastic because the ends of the bales are pressed against one another, so six to eight layers are commonly used.

"There are some considerations when looking for a wrapper. Platform type wrappers are ideal for producers with 400 to 500 bales or less. These individually wrapped bales are more suitable for slower feedout rates than are the inline wrapped bales. Inline wrappers require less plastic and labor per bale and are ideally suited for larger quantities of silage and faster feedout rates. With inline wrappers, a bale remains exposed between feedings once the row is opened. Inline wrappers are about 50 percent more expensive," Collins said.

Each Kentucky county Extension office will receive a copy of Round Bale Silage. It also is available from the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service for $20. Send a check payable to the University of Kentucky to: Agriculture Communications Services, Instructional Video Library, 131 Scovell Hall, Lexington, KY 40546-0064.


Jimmy Henning  859-257-3144