Step 5. Feeding
After sealing maize in the silage clamp, leave for the required amount of time (at least three weeks) before opening so that it has time to consolidate fully and stabilise.
While air exposure can’t be avoided completely once it’s time for the clamp to be opened, its damage can be minimised by using a block cutter or shear grab to keep the face tidy.
In addition, to minimise the period of exposure to air, move the clamp face back quickly at feedout – at a minimum of a metre per week in cooler seasons, and more in the summer. To aid rapid progression across the face, use narrow clamps wherever possible – for example, consider dividing wider clamps into two.
To prevent mould, never leave the sheet hanging over the face, since this creates a microclimate that encourages mould growth. Cut or roll the sheet back as you progress through the clamp, keeping weights on the front edge. Silage that falls off the face should also be cleaned up, since mouldy spores can blow up and contaminate the clamp.
TOP TIP: Minimise losses at the final stage to protect your investment.
Total Mixed Ration (TMR)
Once out of the clamp, maize silage being fed as part of a total mixed ration (TMR) may benefit from using a silage additive with yeast and mould-inhibiting components at feedout to combat spoilage and keep it fresh.