What’s the Use for a Silage Wrap?

Silage wrap almost eliminates the necessity for outdoor storage of excess forage. For maximum effectiveness, prepare bales in advance, at 50% moisture, apply pre-stretch paper to flat bales, and employ a two-layer, double-sided, clear protective coating on each bale. Once completed, cover loosely with clear polyethylene plastic sheeting to allow air circulation and air-tightness.

silage-wrapThe type of plastic used depends upon the length and weight of the bales to be covered, the size of the bales, and the expected moisture content. If a moisture level is forecast to be high, one or more layers of aluminium or copper sheeting can reduce the moisture level inside the bales. However, one or two layers of polyethylene plastic sheeting will adequately protect the bales if anticipated below.

A silage-wrap bale must have adequate puncture resistance, determined by a testing procedure using a zinc tester. The tester provides a zinc colour rating to identify the plastic with the highest puncture resistance grade. High-grade plastic is reinforced with fibreglass or steel reinforcement, and Lower-grade plastic may have only plastic reinforcing mesh left over, which does not provide much protection. Nevertheless, the final product is an effective barrier against moisture and air.

To achieve excellent silage wrapping, choosing a good wrapping manufacturer with a good reputation is crucial. First, thoroughly examine the wrapping manufacturing process, and it should be free of any air gaps or spaces between bales, the wrapping media, and the wrapping itself. The manufacturing process also controls the amount of stretching and compressing of the materials during production to achieve optimal performance and ensure the highest quality of the finished product.

After the manufacturing process, it should be thoroughly inspected for any defects. The most common problem associated with polyethylene is migration, especially in the early stages of production. Any imperfections in the production process can affect the performance of the final product. In addressing this issue, it may be necessary to replace the plastic or re-roll some of the polyethylene used in the initial wrapping.

Silage wrap can be used for a variety of applications in the agricultural and horticultural industries. It is commonly used to protect pests, although some may choose to use it for similar situations in their home gardens. With the ability to retain moisture, most bales make great material for covering the foundation of an irrigation ditch. Other typical applications include covering overgrown grass and vine beds, covering pastures, or covering a birdbath or ornamental pond.

The polyethylene used in the production of silage wrap has a high tear and puncture resistance, making it ideal for agricultural and horticultural fields. However, since the plastic film is typically manufactured using low-density polyethylene (low DPI), it is susceptible to chipping and cracking. In addition, the high stress of handling or transporting bales and the resulting movements can significantly damage some bales with minor puncture. Silage bales can also become distorted and flattened through the effects of abrasion. For these reasons, silage-wrap must be carefully assembled, disassembled, and stored to prevent premature plastic film degradation.

Disposal of farm plastic is not the only concern, and polyethylene sheeting can also contain residues such as lead and mercury. Each bale must be individually collected and disposed of according to local and federal regulations. Some manufacturers have developed environmentally friendly alternatives to standard disposal, including air compression units that blast away the residue with compressed air. Alternatively, you may choose to contact your local government and express your intention to have the waste recycled. In many locations, the collection and disposition of silage wrap are covered by your waste management company.