It is surprising just how much damage a single bird can do to a bale and the subsequent loss in feed or monetary value this can cause," warns Graham Robson, Technical Manager of UAT Ltd. "Preventing bird damage is not an expensive exercise - it is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to reduce wastage and preserve your valuable forage, and will pay for itself within a season."The result of bird damage on bales is always the same – when opened they are mouldy. This is a direct result of the punctured film, which allows air inside the anaerobic environment of the bale - promoting mould growth and resulting in spoiled silage.Mr Robson advises that the remedy is a fine mesh silage protection net: "This is the simple answer to bird damage on bale stacks. For less than the cost of a roll of stretchfilm, one roll of Novatex silage protection, measuring 8m x 25m, can safely protect a stack of over 100 bales. Losses can easily render more than 10% of the bale’s volume unpalatable for the cattle, effectively meaning ten bales in the stack of 100 are lost due to bird damage. This level of loss equates to significantly more than the cost of the net."
Bales with bird damage
"If the net is looked after at the end of the winter, after bale feeding out, it can be rolled back up and stored in the shed ready for next year, " Mr Robson added.