To improve the packing density of your corn silage, think like an agronomist, suggests Paul Craig, Dauphin County, PA, Extension agent. Or, rather, think about what an agronomist wants to prevent – compaction – and then work to accomplish it.
While growers want to avoid using heavy tractors with narrow tires while planting and harvesting, this is the very equipment packing operators should desire, he says.
“A heavier tractor provides greater compaction at deeper depths than a lighter tractor. Narrower tires or road-type tires provide greater density, especially at the surface of the pile compared to floatation tires. Likewise, tires with a smaller footprint produce greater pressure in a smaller area compared to tracks or dual wheels, although dual wheels provide greater safety on the pile surface,” Craig stresses.
Tire pressure should also be considered. “If we overinflate, the compaction is centered in the middle of the tire, so it would be preferable in a bunk to overinflate your tires.
“Adding more weight, narrower tires and overinflating. Those are all practices that can be done on a farm without any extra costs,” he concludes.