“We have been telling people for years that thin layers are important to get good silage densities,” says Brian Holmes, University of Wisconsin ag engineer. “But it may not be as critical as we have been saying, based on data we have seen.”

Holmes and Rich Muck, USDA-ARS scientist at the U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, have been testing the theory that thin layers are essential to good silage density. “We found that if we spread forage in a thicker layer but spent the same amount of time per ton packing, we got the same density,” Holmes says.

“But we’re not willing to drop the thin layer recommendation, because, when you spread a load of silage in a thin layer, you’re spreading it over a large surface area. As you spread it over that large area, you’re forced to drive on each ton longer. So by spending time on it, you’re getting the density you’re looking for.”