The flexibility of baled silage is the key to its continuing success and future development as a feed storage solution, as the farming industry continues to adapt to the economic forces which drive food production in Europe.
Having extensive experience in traditional baling machinery, we are developing technology to improve efficiency in bale silage production and maximise the quality of the ensiled crop.
The main development we have pioneered and patented is the cross-pack wrapping technique. Here an additional layer of film is fed through the pre-stretch machine and then cross-wrapped at 90-degree angles to the conventional layers.
A number of distinct benefits are achieved. First, it provides tension in the bale across all three dimensions — meaning that the bale ‘package’ has a much more consistent strength and rigidity. This allows you to stack bales far higher, as the bales keep their shape better. Secondly, the crossed layers do not bind together with the conventional layers at the contact surfaces, as occurs when the wrapping is all in one direction. This allows a limited amount of movement between the two crossed layers, which provides additional protection against damage during storage and transportation as there is a reduced tendency for the film to tear if the bale is stressed in one direction.
The cross-pack technique also provides a strong oxygen barrier — keeping bales ‘fresh’ for up to five years — much longer than is commonly possible with conventional wrapping.
Studies have also shown that there are significant cost savings to be made by using the cross-pack wrapping technique as less film is required to wrap a bale effectively. For example, a conventional 1.5 m bale wrapped with 16 layers of film uses around 4.5kg of wrap — 70% pre-stretched film. The cross-pack method will use only about 2kg of film for the same 1.5 m bale wrapped with 16 layers — 120 – 160% pre-stretched. Not only is less film required but the process is faster, allowing more bales to be made in less time (up to 1000 bales per day) with our machinery. The number of bales produced is of course dependant on the number of machines used.
Our next challenge is to develop the wrapping process to improve bale tightness. To do this we need to have a high level of film consistency with greater pre-stretch rates and higher lamination.