Here’s what damage flooding actually does to hay and silage

Several recent storms and prolonged rain have caused a serious amount of flooding across parts of the country over the last number of weeks.

Many farmyards, homes and fields have been flooded and submerged due to the flood water.

Teagasc has some great advice on what flooding does to your hay and silage and what can be done to save forage crops.

Silage

Pits/clamps

Silage pits/clamps that had not been opened when the floods submerged them may undergo relatively modest damage, according to Teagasc.

Silage pits/clamps that were open when the floods submerged them may undergo more extensive wetting and it advises that they may release more effluent after the floods recede.

This in turn it says will likely have an impact in the form of a larger loss of digestibility.

If the pH of this silage is below 4.0 after the flood recedes, there may not be a problem but if it is greater than 4.3, then deterioration is more likely, it advises.

Bales

According to Teagasc, bales of silage that have been shifted by floods will likely have had their plastic film damaged.

Bales that had some holes (even if small) in the plastic wrap film before being submerged in the flood will have taken in water.

A risk with all bales that are submerged is that water works its way in between the layers of film, wetting the silage, it advises.

When the water recedes the seal through which water entered/left, Teagasc says that the bale will not reseal.

It is therefore important to check the seal on bales and, if it is compromised, the only option (assuming the bale remains edible) would be to re-wrap it, it recommends.

Teagasc has stated that this may be difficult to do correctly if the bales have lost their cylindrical shape.

Hay

If hay becomes submerged in water, dampness can soak up to a greater height than the level of the flood water (as per blotting paper), it advises.

When the flood recedes and surplus water flows out of the hay, it says the latter could still be only 30% to 40%DM and thus be prone to heating.

If heating commences all of the hay may need to be removed (separating the dry and wet/damp bales) in case heating gets excessive, according to Teagasc.

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