Typically, forage consists of anything between 40% to 80% of the diet in most dairy and beef production. Feed as a whole represents the largest single cost in this type of farming; reducing losses and maximising quality is the priority, and Visqueen Clingseal can do just this.
The average amount of waste on a poorly sealed clamp is 8cm on the top and sides, with more than this on the shoulders. This means waste could cost up to €4.80m2. On a 16m x 50m clamp, this could add up to €3,840 in losses.
In comparison, the cost of Visqueen Clingseal to cover the same size of clamp is €151.00, which is 0.188m2.
Farmers and industry experts use Visqueen Clingseal, a flexible vacuum sheet that is used directly beneath traditional, heavier silage sheets. It is thinner and therefore more flexible, allowing it to cling more closely to the contours of the clamp surface and tuck-in more at the sides. This helps eliminate air pockets and provides a close fitting barrier to significantly reduce top and shoulder losses from aerobic spoilage.
Additionally, because it provides a better air seal, Visqueen Clingseal also facilitates a faster, more efficient fermentation process – delivering enhanced clamp silage quality. lt is also easy to apply, and suitable for a variety of ensiled crops, including grass, maize, wholecrop and other moist feeds.
Protecting precious silage
Pat O’Connell milks a herd of over 80 cows outside Milford, Co. Cork. During silage season, Pat harvests approximately 65ac of silage every year.
Maintaining quality silage for milk production on the farm has not always been straightforward. Pat has previously had issues with silage spoilage, predominantly from birds.
He commented on this problem, saying: “The main issue with our silage storage has been the crows. They tend to land on top of the pit and dig their claws in.”
Pat has used several different products in recent years to deal with this problem with varying results, but has now found the combination of Rhino protection nets and Visqueen Clingseal clamp sheets to be far more durable and effective.
Speaking about the ease of using the protection nets, the dairy farmer said: “You can buy the nets at the right size to suit the pit. With the protection nets, the silage is kept safe and the plastic is kept tight along the sides of the pit and all along the joints.”
Pat has found this ideal as this has led to a large reduction in spoilage on the farm, ensuring healthy silage is maintained long into the winter.
Less time covering the pit on the Tipperary and Kilkenny border
Gerry Lanagan, who farms in partnership with his brother, milks a herd of 240 cows on the Tipperary and Kilkenny border.
Between first-cut, second-cut and surplus bales, the Lanagans harvest approximately 300ac of silage every year.
“I got the first of them three years ago. We were originally making all bales for a number of years,” Gerry said.
“Three years ago, we built a silage pit and a second silage pit during the year after. We made the switch to pit silage because of the workload associated with bales.”
Speaking about why he purchased the nets, the dairy farmer said: “Initially, we bought the protection nets and silo bags to save on the amount of work with covering the pit. However, we have trees surrounding the pits and the birds became a problem.
“We feed cattle in a shed beside the pit and the crows would always be landing on the pit, so it’s protecting the plastic.
“We were happy with it, so when we went about building the second pit during the year after, we bought the nets for that too.”
Commenting on how he installs it on the pit, he said: “I have four sheets and I cover the pit in sections. This way, I can take off a section as I roll back the polythene.
“To hold the protection nets in place and to provide an air-tight pit, I also use Rhino Silo Bags around the walls; these bags are ideal and they are also very strong,” he concluded.
What customers are saying
Tommy Brereton owns a dairy farm located in Ballyloughan, Co. Offaly. The farm houses 40 dairy cows, that Tommy feeds on wagon silage throughout the winter months.
Tommy said “it’s a no brainer to use Visqueen Clingseal” for his silage, as he primarily uses bulk silage to feed his livestock. Clingseal is a flexible vacuum sheet that is used directly beneath traditional, heavier silage sheets.
Tommy noticed the effectiveness of Visqueen Clingseal during his second cut, when he was absolutely amazed at how well preserved the first cut remained after opening the clamp in July to add his second cut.
By using Visqueen Clingseal, Tommy has considerably reduced the amount of wastage in his clamp, which has more than covered the cost of purchasing Visqueen Clingseal. Tommy noted that there was a clear line of waste silage on the side of the pit where the seal wasn’t used, which showed a clear indication of the effectiveness of Visqueen Clingseal.
Visqueen Clingseal: A new high-performance clamp sheet
According to the distributor Rhino, Visqueen Clingseal significantly reduces top and shoulder spoilage and costly losses at the clamp face.
Designed for use with a 400-gauge Rhino silage sheet, it is a flexible clamp film that is used directly beneath traditional heavier silage sheeting. It is applied to the silage clamp before the application of the uppermost silage sheeting and any weights.
At 40μm , it is thinner and more flexible than standard silage sheets. This allows it to cling more closely to the contours of the clamp surface and tuck-in better at the sides.
Visqueen Clingseal has proven to help eliminate air pockets and provides a close-fitting air barrier to significantly reduce top and shoulder losses from aerobic spoilage.
Results have also found that it provides a better air seal to facilitate a faster, more efficient fermentation process, resulting in silage with greater nutritional value and increased dry matter intake (DMI) potential.
Under commercial silage-making conditions, research has shown that total DM losses of 25% can be expected from field to feed out, while in-silo losses of 5% to 18% are typical.
Research by Teagasc and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) at Hillsborough has confirmed similar storage losses for clamp silage made in Ireland.
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