Silage Wrap - A Farmer's Secret Weapon
Updated: Mar 16
* For the purpose of this article the words silage wrap, wrap, and film will be used interchangeably.
Silage wrap is a blown film most commonly used in high-moisture baling. The blown film allows the wrap to expand and contract with changing temperatures. Baling with high moisture has become increasingly popular because it allows an earlier harvest time while avoiding typical rain damage in dry baling. This wrapping technique is best for preserving silage while keeping specific oxygen inside the bale while keeping the rest out. It also ensures getting the most out of your bale because of its security and durability.
Silage wrap layers have nothing to do with thickness. The more layers a wrap has, the denser it is.
A wrap with multiple layers typically has different attributes throughout them. Outer layers contain a UV stabilizer while inner layers have more puncture resistance.
The millimeter number on the size is the thickness of the wrap. Silage wrap comes in 1 or 1.5-millimeter options.
When to Wrap - We recommend wrapping no more than 24 hours after baling to begin the fermentation process. The longer you wait to wrap, the more oxygen the bale will encounter, preventing fermentation.
Where to Wrap - Wrap close to where the bales will be stored to reduce handling and risk of damage. The bales will begin fermenting shortly after being wrapped, so moving them during this stage may cause them to burst. If you must move them after wrapping, wait at least 24 hours to do so to prevent bursting from fermentation gases.
How Many Rotations - Generally, 6-8 rotations will be enough to secure your haylage. However, this number will largely depend on how puncture-resistant your wrap is because the less resistant a film is, the easier it is to breakthrough. Meaning you will want to wrap a less puncture-resistant film around the bale more times versus a highly puncture-resistant film.
Where to Store Wrapped Bales - We recommend storing them on washed gravel to provide a path for leaks to follow. Gravel storage will also help reduce vermin from getting under bales.
Use Net Wrap First - Net wrap helps contain stems and reduce the chance of poking holes in the plastic film, leaving a smoother surface for the silage plastic wrap.
Not all silage wrap is the same, mainly due to their varying layers. Some films may contain stronger or weaker UV protection, tact (stickiness), or puncture resistance. Since all silage wrap is different, you can choose which product best fits your needs. For example, if you'll be storing your bales in direct sunlight, you'll need high UV protection and may not consider how much tact a product has. A good silage wrap provides protection against sunlight, acts as a protective barrier, and contains elasticity and tack for a complete seal.