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Why Bagged Silage?

Note: The financial numbers listed below are estimates that we developed.  You can adjust them any way you want to fit your particular situation.  We merely wanted to present them as a thinking point for the substantial financial difference between bagged silage and competitive feed programs.

This page outlines the reasons why we believe bagged silage is the best feed program available for your cow herd.  Bagged silage has clear cut advantages for you in terms of feed quality, economical value, management, and managing risk.  We will summarize the financial advantages demonstrated in the cost analysis sections of our website as well as look at some advantages that are difficult to place a value on.  Feel free to contact us if you are interested in experiencing the bagged silage advantage or would like to learn more about this great system.

Feed Programs Summary

Total Cost for 1 Year
Total Cost Per Cow
Acres Needed
Bagged Silage
Round Bales
Square Bales

As you can see bagged silage is by far the best feed program from an economic standpoint.  This system is $5,518.95 cheaper than feeding round bales and $2,118.60 cheaper than square bales for a 100 cow herd.  On a per cow basis bagged silage is $55.19 cheaper than round bales and $21.18 cheaper than square bales.  Keep in mind that you need to add your labor bill to both the round and square bales analysis to compensate for the multiple handling of bales.  We are confident that you will not find another feed program with the economic value and practicality of bagged silage.  This superior economic value coupled with the points to consider listed below makes bagged silage a necessary component of your successful cattle operation.

Points To Consider


Labor cost is difficult to measure.  Not factored in is the extra labor involved in handling hay multiple times.  This ranges from extra raking, moving hay, and the actual feeding process.  Producing corn silage is much, much faster as we have the capacity to chop up to 200 tons of corn silage within one hour.  Provided no breakdowns occur and everything operates in a timely manner, we can chop and bag corn silage in a very short time period.  We could realistically chop and bag one year's supply of corn silage for 100 cows in a 4 - 5 hour time period.


Risk is drastically minimized with corn silage.  If it rains, instead of raking again and reducing feed quality, we wait until the ground is dry enough again for field work.  I don't think it's stepping out on a limb to say that the past several years have not exactly stabilized our weather pattern.  Rain just simply shortly delays the continuation of the chopping and bagging process.  Quality control will remain relatively the same.

Corn silage tonnage per acre can vary just like anything else.  However, I will take the relative stability of corn silage versus hay every time.  We all know that tons of hay per cutting can drastically reduce as the season wears on.

Quality of Feed:

Our cows have overwhelmingly come to prefer corn silage to hay.  Cows will finish the corn silage presented to them before moving on to hay.  The taste, smell, energy, and palatability of corn silage makes it extremely appealing to the cow.  Furthermore, every herdsman's objective following calving is to put his or her cows in the best possible body condition leading into breeding season.  There is no better way to accomplish this goal than through a corn silage program.

How do the above points happen?  You don't have the spoilage during the storage process.  University of Illinois data has shown that you can have up to 40% waste with hay.  Whether it is being spoiled during storage or at the bale ring, the waste still occurs.

There are several ways to store silage - bagged, bunker, and in a vertical silo.  We believe bagged silage produces the best quality feed amongst these three methods.  This is achieved through storage.  Silage in a bag is sealed air tight and is packed evenly throughout the entire bag.  This allows a better fermentation process to take place and eliminates exposure to outside environmental elements.  Vertical silos do not pack feed as uniform as bags and are expensive to build and maintain.  Existing vertical silos are still being used which is very understandable.  But, let's be realistic, the building of new vertical silos is a practice of the past. 

Bunkers are used as well to store silage.  However, they cannot replicate the absolute uniform packing of a bagging machine and have substantially more exposure to environmental elements.  Spoilage, thus resulting in more waste, will occur wherever silage was exposed to rain, water, air, and other elements.  Furthermore, university studies have shown that bunkers can result in 28 - 30% shrink or more on top of the spoilage that can occur.  The shrinkage is an invisible loss that is sometimes not accounted for.  The additional spoilage and shrinkage would require 30 - 35% more corn silage to achieve the same amount of quality feed found in bagged silage.  99% percent of the time the only waste you will have with bagged silage is what you spill when loading it.  We believe a fair calculation of all factors in the various feeding programs will find bagged silage to have the most economical value.

Maximizing Acres:

It would take 60 acres to produce enough round bales for 100 cows in a year's time and 49 acres for square bales.  In comparison, it would only take 23.25 acres of corn to produce enough corn silage for that same group of cows.  This translates into approximately 26 - 37 additional acres available for either pasture or grain production!

Some argue that one of the reasons they still use hay is because they put the alfalfa on their marginal ground.  We would counter that with two points.  First, there is a lot of marginal ground in the countryside being used for grain production.  Secondly, if the land is that bad for adequate grain production, should it be put into pasture?  Widened cattle profit margins through reduced feed cost and labor coupled with more available acres for grain production will add more dollars to your financial bottom line.

Closing Thoughts:

We are firm believers that bagged corn silage provides you better feed quality at a more economical value.  You will be pleasantly surprised with your cow's improved performance and how much easier chores will become for your operation.  We would be happy to discuss your individual situation - costs, labor, facilities, etc. and help you determine why bagged silage is right for your operation.  Feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to be of assistance to you.


Website Administrator: Dan Byers

This page last updated April 14, 2007