As well as improving chemical composition, it seems the production of denser silage can also reduce mould. Dave points to a study in the US to illustrate the point: "It is well known that the higher the levels of oxygen in a bale, the greater the growth of yeasts moulds and listeria as all of these organisms require oxygen to grow. So it's of particular interest that a clamp silage trial conducted in North America found some significant results when it examined silage produced using good and poor compaction after 100 days of ensiling.
"In every gram of the poorly compacted silage, they discovered 100,000 yeasts per gram of silage whereas in the well compacted silage there were fewer than 100. Whilst not directly comparable to bales, this information coupled with the ethanol findings from the IBERS study does suggest that the same lower yeast levels are likely to be found in denser bales." Dave continues: "These yeasts instigate aerobic spoilage and will result in heating and moulding of the silage. Their reduced presence in dense bales means that should its wrap become damaged, it is far less likely to become mouldy than one made from looser material.
"Alongside this, oxygen can't penetrate to the same depth as it can with less dense silage. As a result, any mould that does occur won't be able to grow as deeply into the bale, helping to reduce losses and the risks to animal health risks caused by listeria and mycotoxins."
In addition, this reduced yeast growth can also offer benefits when feeding a bale out - and especially for a lower level of stock. Ironically it seems, and despite there being more silage in a chopped bale, it will probably remain cooler and unspoilt for longer than an unchopped counterpart. Taking all this into account, the argument for producing a denser bale appears to be a strong one. As Dave Davies concludes:
"There are no reasons why you shouldn't use a chopper baler to increase bale density if you have option and in fact there are plenty of reasons why you should. It's a simple step that can ultimately lead to the best of both worlds. Better silage and lower production costs."
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