Forage wagons have an important role to play during the silage harvesting process in a farm. However, there are many times when farm owners run into huge losses as a result of silage contamination on forage wagons during or shortly after the harvest.
It is important for farm managers and owners alike to understand the various causes of silage contamination and how this problem can be prevented. Below is a brief discussion on the same.
Watch Out For Soil
Soil is perhaps the number one contaminant of silage products during a harvest. Soil often ends up on a forage wagon when mud and dirt are loaded alongside silage crops. This happens when the forage harvester picks up the mentioned items from the unloading trailers being used. Soil contains several types of bacteria whose action on silage can cause premature fermentation of silage crops.
In order to prevent soil-based silage contamination, farm managers and farm equipment operators are advised to ensure that any raking and tedding machines used are set at the recommended height at all times.
It is also advisable for managers to ensure that a barrier is created between the soil and silage products when bales are being loaded or unloaded. This barrier can be created using a cement apron placed before stacks of silage on the harvester or silage wagon.
Contamination of silage may also occur when the harvester picks up various types of animal effluent generated from feedlots, dairies, and piggeries on the farm. The use of animal effluent on silage crops is a common agricultural practice. At times, animal effluent is made up of large particles that the forage harvester can easily pick up during the harvest.
As such, farm managers are advised to avoid the application of animal effluent on silage crops for a month or two before the intended harvest date. This helps to reduce the occurrence of large particles of effluent that the harvester can easily pick up.
The presence of dead animals on silage crops is considered among the worst forms of silage contamination. This is because farm animals are exposed to the risk of serious health complications should they happen to ingest such silage crops.
This simply means that the person operating the forage harvester needs to have a keen eye out for dead carcasses of small animals such as snakes, birds, and rats that the harvesting equipment may pick up during a harvest.