Hello and welcome to another FS22 tutorial. This time we will learn all that needs to be known about silage. All the basic things like how to produce it, what you need in terms of ingredients and equipment.
What Is Silage & What Is It Needed For?
Silage is a valuable feed that is preserved by fermentation. It cannot directly be grown on fields, but can be made with grass or chaff.
Silage is part of the total mixed ration that you use to feed the cows. You can learn more on how to produce cow feed from silage and the other components in our tutorial on cows.
You can sell silage at the biogas plant and at the animal dealer – you will receive much more money for it than selling your regular harvest.
Tip! You quadruple the sales value of grass and corn, just by turning it into silage. So, financially, it’s worth the effort.
What Can Silage Be Made From?
You can produce silage with grass or chaff. You obtain chaff by not harvesting some of your crops with a harvester as usual, but with a forage harvester.*
Tip: Forage harvesters have a relatively small tank, so you should also use either an auger wagon or a trailer.
Wait! How Do You Get Chaff?
You get chaff by harvesting the above-listed crops with a forage harvester. But, there is one important thing to keep in mind: you need to harvest crops BEFORE they reach their final growth stage! Looking at corn, for example, you harvest it while the cobs are still green.
Even grass can be harvested with a forage harvester. But grass should reach the final growth stage – it just gives you more material you can turn into silage.
Back on Track: How Is Silage Made?
Basically, there are three ways to produce silage. Reading further, we explain the production of silage with and without a bunker silo separately.
Option 1: Mowing grass and pressing it into silage bales.
Option 2: Mowing grass and fermenting it in a bunker silo.
Option 3: Harvesting chaff from above-mentioned crops and fermenting it in a bunker silo.
Silage Production Using Grass – Without Bunker Silo
You need a tractor with a front loader attachment, for transport and tools.
You need property to grow grass.
You need a mower for cutting the grass.
You need a windrower to arrange grass in lanes.
You need a baler to press the lanes of grass into bales.
You need a bale wrapper to turn a grass bale into silage by wrapping it.
You need a bale spike for transporting bales.
To produce silage bales, you require a meadow. Cut the grass, press it into bales and wrap them up. And after a short fermentation process (that means just waiting), you get a bale of silage. With grass, it does not matter whether it is freshly mown grass, dried grass or chaff.
Tip! If you want to get familiar with the production of silage and the usage of the needed machinery, just look up some contracts in the menu. Here you will always find some jobs for baling silage bales.
Silage Production Using Crops & Bunker Silos
You need a tractor with a front loader attachment, for transporting and attaching tools.
You need a bale spike to transport bales.
You need a leveler attachment to distribute the material evenly when driving over it.
You may need a silage compactor (optional) to gain more weight for compression.
You need a silage cutter attachment to get the silage out of the silo. Alternatively, you can use a shovel attachment, which is especially useful for grass-based silage.
You need property to place a bunker silo.
You need a bunker silo for fermenting chaff and grass into silage.
You need a forage harvester with a fitting header and silage additive. With this kind of machinery, you turn your crop into chaff.
Tip! Fill the harvester with silage additive to increase the yield!
Tip! You can also collect grass with a loading wagon to deliver it to the silo.
You need a trailer for transporting grass or silage.
Let’s Get To Work!
Step 1: Unloading grass or chaff into the bunker silo
In the silo, you either unload harvested grass or chopped material. It does not matter whether it is freshly mown grass, dried grass or chaff. If you use chaff, keep in mind you have to produce it by using a forage harvester before crops reach their final growth stage (except grass)!
As explained above, chaff is made from wheat, barley, oats, canola, sorghum, soybeans, corn, or sunflowers with the forage harvester. Fill the harvester with silage additive before you start to increase the yield!
Tip! When spreading the material, be careful not to unload too close to the rim of the silo. Otherwise, the material could be squeezed out of the silo during the compaction and will not be processed into silage.
Step 2: Compressing the material in the bunker
After you have unloaded and spread the material in your silo, you have to compress it. To do this, use your heaviest tractor. Attach a leveler in the front, so the material is evenly spread in the silo when driving over it.
To gain more weight and compress more efficiently, attach a silage compressor (or another kind of weight) in the back. You can find the compactors in the “Silo Compaction” category of the shop.
Now, just drive over the material. Try to spread it evenly by driving over heaps. Continue to compress it until 100 % “compaction” is reached – displayed in the info box when inside the bunker silo.
Step 3: Covering the compressed material
Compacted everything? Now you have to cover the pressed material, and then it’s time to wait. After reaching 100 % compaction, you can cover it by pressing the respective button.
You can see how long the fermentation process of the silage will take in the upper left corner of the screen when standing next to the silo.
Step 4: Obtain silage from the bunker silo
To get the silage out of the bunker silo, you have to open the silo. Then you need a shovel or a silage cutter. Use it to open the rest of the silo step by step. Load the silage into a trailer. Use it either to produce total mixed ration (TMR) or sell it at the biogas plant or the animal dealer.