Wrapping silage bales

here's how

Bale wrapping silage properly

Properly wrapped silage and round bales are the best prerequisite for good forage. We’ll show you what you need to watch out for. If you can’t find a sufficiently detailed answer to your question in the list below, then drop us a line or give us a call. We’re happy to advise you!

How many layers are needed for bale wrapping silage?

Ideally, six bale wrap layers are needed for good round bale silage. This ensures that even big heavy bales of silage have optimum protection against rapidly changing climatic extremes, such as times of drought, heavy rain, storms and hail.

What are the consequences and disadvantages of excessively stretching the plastic film during wrapping?

  • Reduced film thickness – reduced resistance against puncture
  • Poor film bonding – oxygen and moisture can penetrate
  • Reduced adhesion – the ends of the film do not stick to the bales
  • The opacity of the bale wrap colour is lost
  • Loss of UV protection

How can loss of film width be prevented – which would lead to the wrap becoming too narrow during stretching?

  1. Check the reduction in film width when you wrap the first bales, or once a day if you are pressing and wrapping over a period of several days. The film width should not shrink by more than 20%. Some guide values for maximum reduction are: 750 mm to a minimum width of 600 mm, 500 mm to a minimum width of 400 mm.
  2. If the reduction is more than 20%: reduce the speed of the packaging machine.
  3. If the loss of width is still more than 20%, contact the manufacturer of your packaging machine or the agricultural experts at DUO PLAST. They will be able to recommend the optimum silage film for your machine.


Condition of the cut material

What is the ideal cut length for grass silage and hay?

The cut should not be deeper than 6-7 cm. Mowing grass lower than this risks the harvest being contaminated with soil and bacteria. Contaminated silage has a poorer feeding value and, in the worst case, may endanger livestock the health of farm animals.

How high should the dry matter content of the starting material be when baling silage?

The dry matter content should be between 30% and 50%. The dryer the starting material is, the more it will need to be pressed and compacted to achieve high quality silage.

Pressing & wrapping

Why should there be a maximum period of two hours between pressing and wrapping?

The relatively short time between pressing and wrapping is necessary to ensure the optimum exclusion of air for the lactic acid fermentation. Machines which are able to press and wrap in one go are ideal

What are the ideal conditions for pressing and wrapping silage bales?

The elasticity and adhesion of the films can be impaired by extreme ambient temperatures. Therefore, ideally, bale wrapping should be performed:

  • at an outdoor temperature of max. 35 °C
  • in the shade
  • not when it’s raining or when it’s extremely dry

What is there to watch out for before and during wrapping?

  • Only use perfect, undamaged rolls of film (take care of the edges!)
  • Position the adhesive side towards the bale
  • Pre-stretch for round bales 55-70%, up to 65% for square bales
  • 50% overlap
  • Wrap with at least 6 layers

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Storage of silage/round bales

Which side should the wrapped bales be stored on?

On the flat side. Why? The flat side has been wrapped more and so has more film on it. This thicker layer of film provides better protection from damage due to stubble when stored in the field, as well as from hail, sun etc. Another advantage: the round bales retain their shape better and are easier to transport.

When storing silage and round bales, what should the condition of the ground below the bales be?

As far as is possible, the ground below the bales should be without significant remains of plants, as stubble may make small holes in the plastic when the bales are placed on it. Therefore the ground below the bales must be prepared appropriately in advance. Ideally, a solid base should be used. An underlay of used bale wrap also offers protection.

Where should the finished wrapped silage be stored?

The ideal storage location is:

  • shady or with little UV radiation
  • with a slight slope
  • covered with protective sheets, mesh or nets

This is for the following reasons:

  • UV-radiation attacks the plastic – and the durability of the film is reduced.
  • UV-radiation results in strong heating of the feed – which reduces the quality of the feed.
  • If the silage bales are stored in dips, they may end up standing in water for extended periods after heavy rain or thawing snow – and this can spoil the forage.

What should be done if the film is slightly damaged?

Damage resulting from transport or storage should be repaired as quickly as possible with UV-resistant silage film tape. This is available from your specialist dealer.

How can the wrapped bales be protected from damage by animals?

Birds, rodents and fallow deer etc. can make tiny holes in the plastic which are almost undetectable by the naked eye. These are entry points for air, moisture and water, which favour the formation of mould and undesirable acids. Special silage covers and protective nets can reliably secure the bales of forage from damage by birds, minimise solar radiation and can be used repeatedly for many years.

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Ensuring forage quality

How can surface mould be prevented on a silage crop which is mostly dry?

Frequently, the cause of discolouration on the surface of the bale is condensation between the plastic and the feed. This may be due to, for example, severe temperature differences between day and night – which are quite typical in northern Europe. The risk of internal condensation can be avoided when wrapping silage bales if the following experience gathered by farmers in northern Europe and the USA is taken into consideration:

For dry feed, use twice as much wrap as would be needed under optimum conditions.

Use more than twice as many layers for dry feed which already contains a lot of air, e.g. alfalfa, dry lucerne.

Multiple layers fulfil the same function as double glazing does for windows: condensation inside the room is prevented. If all the parameters are perfectly matched to each other during wrapping – such as the dry matter content of the feed, the number of film layers, pre-stretch etc. – then it is possible to reduce the risk of mould forming on the silage.

Storing the rolls of film

How do the rolls of film need to be stored?

To ensure the silage wrap retains its product properties, it must be stored at temperatures between 15 °C and 30 °C and protected from UV radiation – ideally in the original packaging. Excessive solar radiation or heat may lead to the film becoming brittle.

How long can the rolls of film be used for?

As a film manufacturer, we guarantee the product properties for 12 months from the delivery date. Ideally, the film should be used within this period.

What could happen if the film is incorrectly stored?

If the film stored incorrectly, this may cause problems when wrapping silage bales, e.g. blockages.

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