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Regulations May Change How U.S. Producers Weigh Down Silage Covers

Recent regulations may change how some U.S. producers weigh down their silage covers. Yet, the benefits to properly covering silage bunkers or piles continue to provide returns.

“The additional time and expense to comply with new waste tire regulations may cause producers to question the need for covering piles at all,” notes Renato Schmidt, Ph.D., Technical Services – Silage, Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “There is absolutely no question that effectively covering piles saves money by preserving important nutrients in the silage, reducing dry matter (DM) losses and maintaining the hygienic quality of the feed. The effort to cover and seal silage piles is a vital part of the silage management program.”

Covering piles helps create the anaerobic environment required for the ensiling fermentation on the most critical portion in terms of porosity — the surface. As a result, the quality of the fermentation process is improved compared to uncovered piles. During storage, well-maintained plastic covers help prevent oxygen ingress, which can cause spoilage.

For example, sealing and covering a 40-foot by 100-foot bunker returns approximately $2,000 in improved silage DM recovery when filled with corn silage. Plus, feeding spoiled silage from an uncovered silo can reduce feed intake and digestibility and potentially lead to metabolic and reproductive issues in the herd.

A combination of high-quality plastic and adequate weighting helps prevent losses. Use plastic that is at least five millimeters thick and dual layer — black inner and white outer — to resist deterioration. Also consider using plastic film with an increased oxygen barrier, Dr. Schmidt advises.

Weighting the plastic down prevents air from seeping underneath the covering. Full-casing waste tires have been the standard for anchoring bunk silo covers for years, but they are heavy to move and bulky to store. Standing water in a full-casing tire can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. With the increasing concern around West Nile virus (WNV) — and the new state regulations prohibiting full tires — producers may be searching for new options, such as:

  • Modifying tires by leaving tires on the rims, removing tire sidewalls, drilling holes in the tire sidewalls or cutting tires in half
  • Covering tires with plastic to reduce standing water
  • Treating tires with a mosquito larvicide, which requires a certified pesticide applicator
  • Replacing tires with sidewall disks
  • Using heavy equipment tire beads

Dr. Schmidt advises producers to choose an option that maintains the integrity of the plastic. Tears or holes reduce the effectiveness of the covering and allow oxygen into the pile.

“Covering and sealing silage bunkers makes economic sense,” Dr. Schmidt says. “There are options for producers looking for alternative ways to weigh down covers. Don’t drop a best practice that pencils out in the long run.”

What Can I Do? Cost-Effective Cover & Seal Products

  1. What is the Return On Investment of Proper Silage Cover and Sealing?
    Research shows (see above article, “Regulations may change…”) that proper silage cover and sealing pays for itself more than 2 times in the first year of use of quality cover and seal materials, to include both plastic and truck tire sidewalls. The Return On Investment greatly increases in the ensuing years because the cost of the tire sidewalls is already more than paid in the first year! Feed volume and hygienic nutrition through enhanced silage DM recovery is the source of the continual financial return! 
  2. What Cover and Seal Products are the Most Cost Effective to Purchase and Use?
    In this regard, it is important to purchase quality materials, including Plastic Cover and Clean-Cut, Non-Bent, Truck Tire Sidewalls, from suppliers that focus on Grade A product!  ALL SILAGE COVERING AND SEALING PRODUCT AND PROCEDURES ARE NOT EQUAL! When inferior products are purchased and covering practices are used, the Return On Investment diminishes!
    • While Gee Tire Inc. and EnduroBrand Livestock focus on quality Truck Tire Sidewalls for cover weights, we can recommend experienced plastic suppliers who know their business for your benefit! Call us for plastic supplier options.
    • Our Quality Truck Tire Sidewalls weigh in the range of 22 to 25 pounds each, depending on several factors, including the ply rating of the tire used. Properly manufactured Truck Tire Sidewalls cover 8 or 9 sq. ft. each, depending on the Installation Placement Procedure.
  3. What Is The Most Cost-Effective Cover Product Handling, Covering, and Uncovering/Storage Procedure?
    Ask about our Sidewall Bundling Procedure for flatbed delivery and unloading ease, with no manual labor! Our 16,000 to 18,000 sq. ft. coverage loads can be unloaded in 30-45 minutes with one employee on a loader and without a dock! Our Load Delivery System eliminates toilsome unloading work out of van trailers and provides for maximum payload Sidewall Transport over open-top trailers, thus reducing freight costs per sidewall! With our delivery methods, both time and labor costs are greatly reduced! Ask us for the details!
  4. Our Truck Tire Sidewall Manufacturing and Sales Experience

    We have more than 30 years of experience in the truck tire business and nearly 25 years of experience in the Truck Tire Sidewall Supply Business, with many repeat customers!

Call (785) 231-8397 for Tire Sidewall Cover Weights Available from our Kansas & Texas Yards!

Tire Sidewall Cover Weights