Damage to bales can be caused during transport, by pests or weather conditions. Reducing the risk of damage is important to safeguard the best possible forage quality. Storing the bales correctly plays a key role in this.
Firstly, selecting a well-drained site to store the bales is vital. This must be located far enough away from fences, trees, water and protected from weather influences. Ideally the bales should be stacked within 12 hours of wrapping to avoid exposure damage in the field. Using a bale grab is recommended, try to avoid a bale spike as this can puncture the film allowing oxygen and moisture to enter the bale which could affect the silage fermentation process and cause moulds.
For optimal retention of bale quality, do not stack higher than three bales and round bales should preferably be laid on their flat side. It is best not to stack bales with a low dry matter content, as the weight of the bales may cause them to settle and collapse. This creates friction that causes the film layers to slip apart, or in the worst case, tear.
Avoid bale damage caused by birds
Cover the stack with a silage protection net to prevent birds from damaging the bales. Remember to secure the net to the ground so birds cannot fly underneath it and to stop birds from pecking through the net and still damaging the bales, leave space between the top of the bales and the net.
Check and repair bale damage
Have you stacked the bales correctly, bird-proofed the stack, excluded weather influences and is the stack far enough away from the livestock? In that case, you should have minimised the risk of damage. However, you should still inspect the bales regularly and check if the stack is not starting to collapse – rectify any damage immediately. It is important not store bales for too long; the maximum storage time depends on the number of layers of film and dry matter content of the crop. See the table below for our advice (the maximum storage time is also indicated on the film roll packaging):