FRESH FROM FIELD
For over a decade, Dow has been working alongside leading academics and agricultural institutes to improve the techniques and technologies involved in agricultural film solutions. Our innovations in polyethylene resins for use in applications such as bale silage, silage clamps, greenhouses and tunnels, and mulch films has helped farmers lead the way to a more profitable and environmentally friendly future. Dow’s high-quality resins for agricultural films reduce the need for chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, leading to increased crop productivity through higher yields, better varieties, and targeted weed, insect, and disease control.
The goal of silage making is to conserve and store crop nutrients using lactic acid bacteria to ensure rapid fermentation in air-free conditions and to minimize losses from harvesting until feeding. No matter the system, the ensiling and storage system's main functions are to exclude air during the ensiling process and to prevent air from entering the silage during storage. So why bale silage?
Speed of harvest, moisture content, chop length, silage distribution and compaction can greatly influence the fermentation process and storage losses. Efficient fermentation generally ensures a more palatable and digestible feedstuff. This promotes maximum dry matter consumption by livestock that usually results in improved milk and/or live weight gain performance.
The Importance of Quality Wrap
A key component of producing quality bale silage is having quality film wrap. The best silage films are made by film manufacturers in partnership with raw material providers who have a strong understanding of the silage market. Leading brands of films made with DOWLEX™ Polyethylene Resins for silage provide customers with excellent cling and exceptional puncture resistance to help minimize silage spoilage and help ensure low oxygen and water permeability to preserve the nutritional value of the ensiled crop.
Bale Silage Wrap Films Technical Properties and Benefits
- Improved film consistency, reducing breakdowns
- Outstanding ‘cling’ for better seal efficiency
- Tough puncture resistance to help minimize silage spoilage from film damage
- Low oxygen and water permeability to maintain the high nutritional value of silage
- High load retention to keep the bale shape intact during transport and storage
Silage clamp films help maintain the nutritional value of forage plants such as corn, vegetables, and grasses that continue to respire after cutting. Silage clamp films also exclude the air so lactic acid fermentation can take place, leaving a feed rich in vitamins and carotene. When silage film is used, the feed can keep its nutrients for several months, depending on the amount of air left (the less air, the better). Thus, feed is available for use during periods when forage is not available in sufficient quantities.
Silage Clamp Films Technical Properties and Benefits
- High speed processability
- Excellence mechanical resistance (puncture, tear and impact)
- 20-30% of fresh high-performance resin is blended
- Good abuse resistance
- The superior mechanical properties of INNATE™ Precision Packaging Resins allow for the reduction of material used compared to a standard resin
A growing population and increasing consumer desire for year-round access to fresh products call for more efficient production and crop protection methods. Dow’s innovations in polyethylene technology for agricultural films improve crop yield, film durability and integrity while being resource efficient, all which can translate into a longer harvest period.
Greenhouse and tunnel films also allow for a greater diversify of crop types. Without a doubt, agricultural films are an effective solution to protect crops from weather conditions and pests, reduce thermal shock between day and night and ensure effective watering.
Greenhouse and Tunnel Films Technical Properties and Benefits:
Greenhouses and tunnels are generally made at very high layflats, as high as 65 feet. As a result, bubble stability is very important during production. Polyethylene films for these applications must:
- Resist exposure to UV
- Resist fogging due to condensation of interior moisture
- Resist environmental contaminants (acid rain, particulate)
- Be tough enough to withstand abuse
- Allow the transmission of light
Tunnel films, non permanent structures
Greenhouse PE films, permanent structures
Mulch films serve a number of different purposes. Transparent mulch film is used to encourage early season plant growth and early cropping, black mulch films are used to control weed growth, and white films provide reflected sunlight for the plants. In all cases, the implementation of mulch films leads to a more effective use of available water. Most mulch films are only 10 to 50 microns in thickness and are used in widths up to 3 meters.
Mulch Films Technical Properties and Benefits:
- Mechanical properties
- Possibility of downgauge
- LDPE / LLDPE ratio: 15 / 85
- Film thickness: 15 – 20 microns
Multilayer (3 layer or 5 layer)
- Mechanical properties
- Possibility of downgauge
- LDPE / LLDPE ratio: 15-20 / 85-80
- Film thickness: 20 -25 microns
- Film thickness for fumigation film in 5 layer with 5% EVOH in core layer: 15-40 microns
- LDPE improves processing and costs
- DOWLEX adds mechanical properties and downgauging capabilities
- Black MB makes the film opaque