Silage and maize stacks are at the mercy of the elements – especially the wind, and can come under attack from birds, rats and even escaped livestock.
However, Peter Wrightson sales manager for Secure Covers NZ says farmers are discovering a new way to protect their winter feed while eliminating the need for tyres, and the risks associated with using them.
It is Secure Covers’ polyethylene UV-resistant netting which is placed over a standard polythene sheet and held down along the seams and edges using bags made of the same material and filled with pea metal.
Tyres used on stacks can rip the polythene covers when wire inside the rubber becomes exposed. Pieces of wire can even find their way into the silage or maize itself, and if ingested by animals, cause a painful and often fatal illness known as “Hardware Disease” where wire penetrates through the wall of the reticulum.
The dense, strong nature of the “close-knitted” Secure Cover places it close to the polythene’s surface, reducing wind lift and minimising unwanted air intrusion to damage silage or maize quality.
“It’s also impossible for pukeko to peak through, so preventing the damage these birds can cause to silage or maize in just a few hours. Not having to use tyres to hold the polythene sheeting down eliminates places for rats and even possums to hide and breed, so coupled with an effective pest baiting system, rats can be eliminated from silage.”
The woven construction of the Secure Covers is so strong it will even withstand being walked over by cows, should they somehow get onto the silage stack.
Peter says while the system is more expensive than tyres, Secure Covers come with a 10 year guarantee and can be folded up and stored at the end of each season, for use again in the next season.
Secure Covers silage covers are widely used in the UK and US and have proven popular with New Zealand farmers for the four years since the covers have been introduced to this country.
Peter says, the first season using Secure Covers is always the most expensive, but once the original purchase is made the costs are not on going season on season. You only need to lose one or two animals to hardware disease and the new Secure Cover system has more than paid for its self
The polythene below can also be used again and covering it will be quicker without messy tyres.