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New research highlights benefits of oxygen barrier film

Silostop Published on 04 May 2012

New research continues to show that the use of oxygen barrier films protects feedstuffs better than standard plastic coverings.

Experiments to compare the effects of oxygen barrier films on the composition and losses from the upper layers of ensiled crops were carried out by a trio of European research institutions, in conjunction with Silostop.



The researchers were with the Estonian Research Institute of Agriculture, the Research Institute of Biotechnology and Veterinary Medicine at Latvia University of Agriculture, and the School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham.

They built on proven findings that conventional black plastic silage covering can allow up to 400 cubic centimeters of oxygen to pass through each square meter of film in a 24 hour period.

In contrast, silage covered with a Silostop oxygen barrier film allows just 3 cubic centimeters per square meter of oxygen to pass through.

As a result, crops stored in non-airtight conditions are more susceptible to aerobic spoilage and increased wastage whereas the crops stored in airtight conditions remain in better visible condition and retain a higher nutritional value.

The collaborative study further examined this research by monitoring stored silages in concrete walled bunkers covered with oxygen barrier films and standard plastic coverings.

Specifically, the trial found that, after 120 days in storage, wilted crops of mixed grass and red clover ensiled in farm-scale bunker silos, suffered dry matter (DM) losses of 5 percent in the whole bunker when stored under conventional plastic covering compared to 2.5 percent in the whole bunker for crops stored under a Silostop oxygen barrier film.


DM losses were highest at the top 15.75 inches of the pile with losses for silage covered conventionally tallying up to 37 percent compared to a 10 percent loss for crops stored under Silostop.

Increased oxygen infiltration resulted in silage quality deterioration throughout the storage process.

The total quantity of silage fresh weight discarded from the top layer of each crop – because it was judged to be inedible by livestock – was 1.7 tons of the crop under the Silostop barrier and 100 tons of the crop under the conventional plastic covering (0.1 vs. 5.9 percent of the total 1,700 tons ensiled).

The crop kept under conventional covering was also found to contain high counts of yeasts, molds and clostridial spores.

Shawn Ryan, North American dairy forage specialist for Silostop, said, “This trial confirms the science that Silostop was created on: less oxygen entering the silage pile results in return on investment for the producer and retained nutrients fed to livestock.”  PD

—From Silostop news release

Photo courtesy of Silostop.