Silage is the material produced by controlled fermentation, under anaerobic conditions, of chopped crop residues or forage with high moisture contents.
The benefits of silage include but not limited to:
. Silage is good source of nutrious food
. When fed to dairy cows, the cows produces more milk.
. During summer time, silage is very useful where their’s no scope for natural grazing.
. Animals will gain weight within a short period.
In this article, we shall dwell more on pit silage making processes
And below are the processes to be followed when making pit silage.
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.
2.Find 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 dimensions of the pit size depends on the amount of forage to be stored.
3.Using a chaff cutter or silage harvester, cut the forage to be preserved into one inch pieces.
5.Place the chopped forage into the pit and spread it into a thin layer and repeat this process until one third of the pit is covered.
5.One litre of molasses should be diluted with three litres of water and sprinkle evenly on the forage to be preserved.
6.To prevent forage from rotting, use garden sprayer to evenly distribute the solution throughout the silage pit and this will also help in feeding micro organism to make the silage ferment quickly and saving the silage from rotting.
7.The forage should be pressed with the feet to make air out and protect from fungal attack. This should be done with caution as little air even cause fungus and damage the forage.
8.Add more bags of chopped forage after making the room (after pressing) with diluted molasses. Repeat the process of adding forage with diluted molasses and pressing until the pit is filled in a doom shape.
9.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.
10.Cover the pit with soil to make air out and prevent the polythene from damage by the rains, birds or any other animals.
11.The conservation through fermentation may take weeks. Leave the pit until there’s shortage of fodder. The silage can last up to 2 years if it’s prepared with well sheeting and good soil cover.
12.To use the silage, open the pit from the lower side of the slope and take enough silage fodder for one day and close the pit again.