Silage Making Process Guide:
Introduction of Silage:- Silage is a preserved pasture/fodder or high moisture content fodder made from green crops. Making silage is very important for farmers as silage can be fed to animals (dairy, sheep, goat other livestock) during times when pasture isn’t good or natural fodder is not available. Some farmers exclusively make silage in commercial way to make money by growing green crops like maze/corn or any millet crops. Anyone who wants to go for dairy, sheep or goat farming should learn the silage making process. Silage very useful in stall fed farming and saving cost of fodder in any livestock farming essential for high returns.
Uses of Silage:- Following are some of the uses and benefits of silage.
- Silage is good source of nutritious food.
- Silage makes animals gain weight in short period, especially in sheep
- Dairy cows produce more milk with silage feeding.
- Silage is very useful in summer when there is no scope for natural gazing.
- Silage is used as animal fodder such as in goat, sheep and dairy cows.
In this article, let us discuss about “pit silage making” process.
In India, making silage from corn or maize is popular and forage can be cut at the baby corn stage (This stage,it will have highest nutrition values) and can produce corn silage.
Silage Making Process – Step 1:- First and Foremost, decide the type of crop to be grown for forage or silage. Choose hybrid and perennial varieties of crops which can be grown in short duration and produced multiple times.
Silage Making Process – Step 2:- Choose a dry place to dig a pit on slightly sloping ground and the depth of the pit should decrease from the higher side of the sloping ground to the lower side by giving wedge like shape. Usually, size and dimension of the pit size depends on the amount of the forage to be stored. For example, to make 20 bags of forage, one should dog the pit size of 2 cubic meters and needs 10 m of polythene and 30 liters of molasses.
Silage Making Process – Step 3:- Using chaff cutter, cut the forage to be preserved into 1 inch pieces.
Silage Making Process – Step 4:- To prevent the forage contact with soil, place the polythene sheet by covering the bottom of the pit and all sides of the pit.
Silage Making Process – Step 5:- Chopped forage should be placed into the pit and spread it into a thin layer and repeat this process until one third of pit is covered.
Silage Making Process – Step 6:- One liter of molasses should be diluted with three liters of water and sprinkle evenly on the forage to be preserved.
Silage Making Process – Step 7:- To prevent the forage from rotting, use garden sprayer to evenly distribute the solution (from step 6) throughout silage pit and this will also help in feeding micro-organisms to make the silage ferment quickly and saving the silage from rotting.
Silage Making Process – Step 8:- The forage should be pressed with feet to make the air out and protect from fungal attack. This should be done with caution as little air even cause the fungus and damage the forage.
Silage Making Process – Step 9:- Add more bags of chopped forage after making the room (after pressing) with diluted molasses ( as said in step 6). Repeat the process of adding forage with diluted molasses and pressing until the pit is filled in a doom shape.
Silage Making Process – Step 10:- Pit should be covered after final processing with polythene sheet on top to prevent from any water contact and dig a small trench around the sides of the pit.
Silage Making Process – Step 11:- Now the pit should be covered with soil to make the sir out and prevent the polythene damage from rain, birds or any other animals.
Silage Making Process – Step 12:- The conservation through fermentation may take weeks. Leave the pit until there is a shortage of fodder. The silage can last up to 2 years if it is prepared with well sheeting and good soil cover.
Silage Making Process – Step 13:- To use the silage, open the pit from the lower side of the slope, take the enough silage fodder for one day and close the pit again.
Bottom Line of Silage Making:- There is a good scope for commercial production of silage in India. It is easy and needs less investment. Basically you need a fertile soil for forage crops and feed cutting machine (costs about 20,000 to 100,000 Rs, depending on the capacity and output). In open market, good silage costs about 25 to 30 rupees per kg. Farmers should consider making their own silage rather buying from out side.
If you are planning to make corn silage or maize silage, you should know cultivation of corn crop. For more details on how to cultivate maize Read Here.
Interested in Sheep or Goat Farming: Read Here.