Preserve, Compact & Protect - three steps to silage excellence

Making great silage simply means preserving as much of the natural and nutritional goodness in the crop for as long as possible, with minimal loss and spoilage along the way. And it is easily achieved if, in the words of the late great Eddie Cochran* “you follow steps one, two and three.”

Step 1: Preserve
Are you up for the Challenge?

We introduced Safesil silage preservative to UK farmers in 2010, and since then it has gained an enviable reputation for the effective preservation of silage crops across a wide range of forage types and dry matter contents. 

As part of our continuing commitment to product development we launched Safesil Challenge for the 2016 silage season. Designed for use when silage-making and/or crop conditions present a real challenge to achieving a good lactic fermentation, Safesil Challenge uses a different balance of the same three human-food-grade preservatives as the original Safesil. 

Safesil Challenge, with its higher sodium nitrite content, is ideal for Big Bale silage and for crops ensiled with DM content below 28% and/or when there is a risk of soil or slurry/dirty water contamination of the crop. 

Because Safesil Challenge destroys the clostridia and enterobacteria (pictured left) that thrive in these conditions it ensures a controlled, lactic fermentation and creates conditions unsuitable for the growth of fungi and listeria. Effective on grass, arable (e.g. legume/cereal mixes) and high-protein forages where the buffering capacity and low dry matter of the crop can result in a high risk of a poor fermentation, Safesil Challenge is supplied as a ready-to-use liquid.

The original Safesil is ideal for higher dry matter silage where aerobic deterioration is the biggest challenge. Its higher concentrations of yeast- and mould-killing potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate result in long-term stability in the open clamp and feed trough, minimising nutrient loss and the risk of mycotoxin formation. 

Application rates for all types of silage crops can be viewed at

Independent experts in forage preservation estimate that, on average, 25% of the crop dry matter harvested for silage in the UK is lost between harvest and feedout. This loss costs the livestock industry tens of millions of pounds every year by increasing the need for expensive bought-in concentrate feeds in order to maintain economic production of milk and meat. 

Generally speaking, silage dry matter losses are caused by the activity of naturally-occurring micro-organisms - aerobic bacteria, which break down nutrients pre-ensiling; enterobacteria and clostridia, which cause undesirable and wasteful fermentation in the clamp or bale; and yeasts and moulds which are responsible for aerobic spoilage and heating during the feedout period. All these organisms tend to use the most digestible parts of the forage nutrients, breaking them down and using their energy, while producing carbon dioxide, water and other by-products of no nutritional value to the rumen. 

Unlike biological silage additives, Safesil and Safesil Challenge actually kill clostridia, enterobacteria, yeasts and moulds, ensuring a ‘clean’ lactic fermentation and extraordinarily stable silage during feedout. Scientific trials have shown that overall DM losses can be reduced to single figure values in silage treated with Safesil preservatives.

Safesil and Safesil Challenge can be guaranteed to give long-term storage stability of silage, further enhanced when used in conjunction with steps 2 and 3.

Step 2: Compact
Well worth the weight!

Ensuring forage clamps are well compacted is essential in order to eradicate air pockets (the breeding ground for aerobic bacteria, yeasts and moulds) and to create the anaerobic conditions essential for a good fermentation. 

Independent trials have shown that the better the compaction the lower the losses due to poor fermentation. What’s more, a well compacted silage face can be cut out more easily, and is more stable because air cannot penetrate as far into the silage mass.

Since its introduction to farms and AD plants across the UK our award winning* SilaPactor has demonstrated its worth, speeding up the silage compaction process almost four fold and saving both time and fuel compared to conventional tractor rolling. 

In comparisons with conventional compacting techniques SilaPactor has been shown to increase dry matter compaction density by up to 40 per cent, resulting in better use of available clamp space and much improved silage quality.

Thanks to the phenomenal success of SilaPactor we have now increased the range of sizes available to meet growing demand from both small- and large-scale users.

2.1 metres wide  - 2.5-2.7 tonnes

2.6 metres wide - 3.5-3.8 tonnes

3.0 metres wide - 3.8-4.0 tonnes

4.0 metres wide - 5.8-6.0 tonnes

So, having treated your silage with Safesil and compacted it with SilaPactor, there’s just one thing left to do …

Step 3: Protect
Cover your tracks!

O2 Barrier 2in1 is the only top and oxygen-barrier vacuum sheet combination available. One sheet transforms into two on the clamp, reducing work-load and providing the ultimate silage clamp sealing solution! O2 Barrier 2in1 combines an 80µm polyethylene silage sheet film and 20µm polyamide vacuum film in a single sheet. Its unique clamp-sealing properties provide up to ten times less oxygen permeability when compared with conventional sheeting systems, resulting in better long-term preservation and reduced fermentation losses. 

Within a short time of being laid on the clamp the vacuum film absorbs moisture from the silage and separates from the top film, it is then sucked down onto the silage surface, creating an air-tight seal.

Up to 40% lighter than standard silage sheet systems but with at least as much strength, O2 Barrier 2in1 ensures the rapid formation and sustainability of anaerobic conditions in any clamp of ensiled moist feed. Since only one sheet is required to achieve an effective seal, clamp covering can be done in a single step, saving around half the time taken using traditional methods. Its reduced weight makes it easier to handle and reduces disposal/recycling costs.

Top and shoulder waste can be eliminated with the use of O2 Barrier 2in1, especially when it is applied using the ‘Warner’s Corner’ sealing technique, devised by David Warner, our Southern Area Sales Manager. 


















This method ensures full contact between the polyamide vacuum film layer of the sheet and the silage, right to the edge of the clamp. It also stops almost all the rain water from the top of the clamp from running down between the side sheet and the clamp wall (water is channelled to the front of the clamp), providing a high level of protection for your valuable feed crop that really doesn’t get any better. The process is simple:

1.  Use side sheets with a surplus of at least 1 to
    2 metres on each side.

2.  Use O2 Barrier 2in1 at a size that will give you
    at least 1 to 1.5 metres surplus on each side.

3.  Cover the clamp with the O2 Barrier 2in1,
    draping the surplus sheet over the clamp
    walls on top of the side sheets.

4.  Place gravel bags tight to the edge of the
    clamp on top of the O2 Barrier 2in1.

5.  Now bring the side sheet AND O2 Barrier 2in1
    together and fold inwards over the gravel
    bags and weight down both sheets with
    ClampNet* and further gravel bags or

6. This creates your Warner’s Corner - a complete
     airtight seal.

*Find out more about protecting your silage clamp with ClampNet and ClampTiles. We recommend their use in conjunction with the stages of preservation and protection described above, in order to maximise return on your investment in achieving optimal stability, palatability and nutritional content of your valuable silage crops.





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