The extra weight of a pull-behind silage-packing unit does increase packing density. But initial results show the difference is “not earth-shattering,” says Richard Muck, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center ag engineer.

The Impact Silage Packer, originally called the Spanjer, consists of concrete-filled wheels with a bracket on top to hold chained-on concrete blocks weighing about 2,500 lbs each. It comes in 5-, 7-, 9-, 11- and 13-wheel models, distributed by Agromatic, Inc., Fond du Lac, WI.

Muck used three same-model tractors weighing 30,000 lbs each, one to spread silage and the other two to pack. He compared the density of two bunkers, half of each packed by a tractor on one side, and a tractor pulling the 10,000-lb silage packer on the other.

“It does look like it’s improving density; it’s pushing up density about 1 lb of dry matter per cubic foot,” Muck says of the packer. “So, if you’re going from a density of 15 to 16 lbs of dry matter per cubic foot, it should end up reducing losses.”

The cost of the packer is around $10,000, depending on the model.

Editor's Note: USDA-ARS does not endorse or approve the use of trade, firm or corporation names in this article over others that may be suitable.

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