Farmers urged to beware of bale contamination

Written by William Kellett from Agriland

Following a very dry start to 2022, baled silage can be prone to soil contamination due to dust and slurry being incorporated into bales, said Daniel Robinson from agricultural testing specialist Eurofins Agro UK.

“If slurry is not incorporated into the soil the crop will not see the full benefit and any residues risk contaminating bales with harmful bacteria such as enterobacteriaceae.

“High applications followed by dry weather can also cause the fibre from the applied slurry to lift up into the crop, but this can be detected by accurate ash analysis.”

Normal ash levels in the plant should be around 6% to 8%, depending on the crop. Higher numbers indicate additional mineral content which will have occurred due to soil being incorporated into the bale.

Soil can contain clostridia, spores and enterobacteria, which can be become a challenge to overcome.

“A test will show contamination by providing data on Volatile Fatty Acids (VFAs). Contaminated bales will be high in butyric acid and low in lactic acid, causing dry matter losses.

“A slower fermentation in the bale will been shown in a higher than optimal pH level which will lead to the bale not storing well and losing protein,” he added.

Pre-cut dry NIR tests should be carried out to establish sugar levels and nitrate content.

During the cutting and baling process, soil can be incorporated into the bale which can lead to potentially harmful bacteria being present in the forage and leading to contamination.

“A higher pH combined with spoilage and harmful organisms can result in moulds and yeasts growing, resulting in further dry matter loss, and potentially producing mycotoxins which can cause health problems in livestock and impact on productivity.”

Robinson suggests that a dry NIRS test provides true ash content data by burning the sample at 550°c which can help to remove any doubt:

“Some tests only estimate ash content by using NIR, but we provide a separate ash test to be more accurate.

“This will prevent contaminated forage from bales being fed out to milkers and means it can be either discarded or fed to other animals.”

The dry NIRS process also provides data for dry matter content, pH levels, ME and 23 other parameters.

“By removing the moisture in the sample, we are essentially removing the ‘fog’ that other tests cannot see through.

“Drying the sample leaves only the solid content which, once ground to a consistent 1mm thickness, is exposed to the infrared light to provide greater detail than any other test on the market,” explained Robinson.

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Futher on we would like you to help you with the following tips:

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...