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Silage tips for grass

High silage quality is the basis for optimal forage milk yield. Our service addresses all major management factors involved in producing grass silage of superior feed quality.

Grassland maintenance+

Effective grassland maintenance includes:

  • Levelling and rolling
  • Appropriate fertilisation
  • Regular re-seeding in spring or autumn

Intensive use, late cuts, winter kill damage and damage caused by rodents, trampling and tyre tracks, for example, can cause undesirable gaps in the sward. Both DM yields and energy concentrations decrease gradually over time. Regular re-seeding with grass and legume mixtures from SCHAUMANN’s GREENSTAR range ensures high grassland quality.

Cutting time+

The optimal cutting time is just before panicle heading of the main crop grasses (crude fibre content of≤ 24 % in DM). After this time, both digestibility and feed intake decline gradually due to increasing lignin deposition. An early first cut establishes the basis for high quality of all subsequent cuts.

Cutting height+

The minimum cutting height is 8 cm (lucerne: 10-12 cm), but this can be increased depending on crop conditions and rodent populations.

This minimum cutting height

  • Promotes rapid grass re-growth
  • Reduces dirt and thus increases energy contents
  • Reduces the introduction of unwanted spores
  • Prevents the displacement of desirable grasses due to insufficient cutting heights

Keeping wilting times to 28-35 % DM as short as possible provides a basis for optimal ensiling with low losses and high feed intake. Excessively wet silages result in butyric acid fermentation, while excessively dry silages are difficult to compact and therefore tend to spoil. Adequate compaction can no longer be achieved above 45-50 % DM.

Wilting time+

Wilting time should be limited to less than 24 hours to minimize energy losses, as any additional night in the field causes sugar losses due to Respiration.

Short wilting time:

  • Reduces respiration, shatter and leaching losses
  • Prevents carbohydrate losses and promotes crop suitability for ensiling
  • Reduces proteolysis and improves protein quality
  • Improves energy density and digestibility
Chop length+

Optimum chop length for grass silage: 15-40 mm. Excessive chop length and higher crude fiber hampers compaction, therefore shorter chopping length is recommended.

Optimum chop length is essential for:

  • Precise compaction, efficient silo utilisation and reduced losses
  • Improved plant cell digestion and thus more intensive and rapid lactic acid fermentation
  • Reduced gas exchange after silo opening and thus reduced risk of reheating
  • Improved feed intake
Silage additive+

An effective fermentation process is promoted by adhering to the fundamental principles of ensiling and can be further enhanced by applying silage additives for a range of action categories. (Silage additives)

Dosing technology+

LAB products can only be effective if they are precisely dosed. SCHAUMANN dosing systems ensure the precise application of any BONSILAGE product.


The entry of oxygen into the pile causes reheating and thus losses of energy and DM. The better silage is therefore compacted, the less oxygen is able to enter from the silage face.

Measures for optimal compaction:

  • Max. 15-20 cm layer depth
  • With increasing crude fibre and dry matter contents, the smaller the layer depths
  • Tyre pressure at least 2 bar and as high as possible
  • No twin tyres
  • Max. 3-4 km/h rolling speed
  • Rolling from the start, as the effect remains superficial otherwise
  • No excessive rolling towards the end, as this can cause a pumping effect due to silage springing back

Rules of thumb:

Compaction tractor weight = Pick-up rate in t FM per hour / 4*

(* for forage harvesters; for silage trailers = 3)

Compaction = 3,5 * DM [%] + 90


Ensure that the silage is appropriately sealed as soon as rolling has been completed.

  • Oxygen barrier adheres directly to silage (strength: 40-50 μ)
  • Main silage plastic must be gas-tight (strength: 150-250 μ)
  • silage netting protects films against mechanical damage and provides additional weight
  • silage sandbags as additional weights for a snug fit. Silage sandbags allow air-tight barriers to be created at 5 m intervals to prevent air entering at silo faces
  • Side walls should be covered with side wall film, where applicable
Silo face+

The minimum weekly removal rate should be 2 m per week to avoid reheating. Machines used for removing silage should keep the silo face as intact as possible in order to minimise air ingress.

How to prevent reheating

  • Create summer silos with smaller face areas
  • Ensure that the silo face is away from the prevailing wind direction
  • Remove as little silage plastic as possible in advance
  • Calculate silo length and removal based on herd size
  • Optimise removal technology