Depending upon local situation like ground water level, number of animals & duration of feeding silage to animals, decide shape & size of constructing pit/tank for silage making. The ideal size for starters is mentioned in the picture to the right. If one plans to start with 500 or 1000 breeders, they can plan for bigger silo size. The silo pit shown can store 10 tons. For a 100 initial breeder’s setup with provision for lambs and expansion in future, one could build 3 such silos next to each other at one location in the farm, not far too away from the animal shed.
The silos can be constructed above ground as vertical towers or below ground level as pits.
For below ground pit method, select location for making pit at higher level on ground so that rain water may not percolate in to pit. In rectangular pit, corner edges should be making round so that while filling & pressing chaffed fodder, air will not remain inside in the corners of pit or tank. Wall of pit/tank should be air proof to avoid air too come inside in pit /tank through cracks or crevices .To avoid this situation, plaster wall of silo pit or tank with cement or moistened soil.
If ground water level is nearer, then go for building tank for silage making than pit method. If plastering cement to the wall of pit/tank is uneconomical, then you may use HDPE plastic paper (200 micron) to cover pit/tank inside out position. But preferably it is good to plaster the walls and also have HDPE tarpaulins to be on the safer side.
In one cubic foot in pit or tank (1 cubic foot = 1 foot long × 1 foot wide × 1 foot high), 16 kg of chaffed green fodder can be stored. Initially good to have 3 silo pits as shown the picture above, with total storing capacity of 30 tons. Ensure that silos are slanted towards one side so that when you finally place zinc sheets to cover the silos, it is slanted too, thus allowing rain water to slide down and flow away from the pit.
Silage Making Process
Silage preparation is one of the important methods for storage of green fodder for animals & it is necessary to adopt this method for successful stall feeding business.
It is better to keep silage available for atleast 2 months timeframe. On average each animals needs 2kg of silage feed per day, if you have 100 animals you will need:
2kg per day * 100 animals * 2 months * 30 days = 12,000 kgs (i.e 12 tonnes). Given our silo dimensions, we need atleast 1.5 pits, but to be on safer side better to store 20 tonnes.
When fodder crop is in cob stage or Tussling stage, harvest it for preparation of silage. Very mature stage is not good for preparing silage as its sugar content is decreased as well as fibre percentage in increased; this kind of fodder is less suitable for silage making.
After harvesting fodder crops, let it dry for 5-6 hours in shed so that moisture content of fodder will decreases from 80% to 65-70%.Care to be taken to avoid silage making in rainy days or crops containing dew drops in winter season because moisture is more in this situation so there may be chances for development of mould in silo pit during storage period.
Following steps to be taken while filling silo pit-
After 8-10 weeks, silage is ready as feed for animals. Open pit, take 4inch of fodder from outer surface. Every time you open, it is good practice to take out at least 4inch of fodder so as to avoid spoilage/ growth of mould. If it is not in use, then cover it carefully with plastic film so that air will not go inside in silage.
If silage while filling pit/tank, not well pressed; there will be growth of mould. Good quality silage has sweet & sour taste. Good quality silage has faint green or brownish color. Rotten silage has black color. Good quality silage has pH of 3.5 to 4.2. Take it to nutrition lab to know more about quality of the silage and also the protein/energy levels
A silo is a structure for storing bulk materials. Silos are used in agriculture to store grain or fermented feed known as silage.Silage is cut green plant material that is sealed in a pit without air and water..more