Silage Preparation

Keeping cows and the Pakistani indigenous buffalo is very profitable, if you can train yourself to think long term.

This page explores one of the better ways of preparing silage, especially for a dairy farm in Pakistan.

What is Silage?

Silage is usually made of corn and is considered one of the best feed for the animals. Silage is the name of the process through which corn is fermented to be ready for easier digestion by the ruminant cows.

Note that silage is the main feed for your animals, the main course if you may. I have seen some people think that fodder and silage are completely two separate things, and that the animals need both. They are confusing everything here!

Fodder is a generic term, used to indicate the ‘food’ that you give to your cows/buffalo. Silage is very much a type of fodder in that sense. Other food items, such as ‘jawaar‘ and ‘barseem‘ (Urdu names), are also fodder. But remember, silage is the best type of food and should always take precedence over any other type of fodder. Also remember, you do not NEED any other fodder if you are giving silage to your animals. If you can manage then you should include ‘green fodder’ such as ‘jawaar’ and ‘barseem’ etc, but there is no substitute for silage especially if you want to run a successful dairy farm here in Pakistan. Now on with the silage preparation…

How is (corn) Silage prepared?

The maize is cut directly from the field using a special cutter to finely cut the maize into small pieces. These pieces are then dumped into silage pits (discussed below). The corn pieces are then pressed, usually using a tractor (or small bulldozer even!). The idea is to press and remove as much air from the maize dump as possible. After the corn is pressed, it is covered with a waterproof sheet. The idea is to keep the pressed maize air tight.

It takes approximately 15 to 20 days for the silage to be ready for use.

Silage Pits

Silage that is used for dairy farm is prepared and stored in silage pits. There are various methods for making silage pits:

  1. You can dig out a rectangular shaped trench and then use the tractor to press the silage. One side of the trench is sloped inwards for the tractor to move up and down while pressing.
  2. You can put up walls on three sides, and dump and then press the corn there.
  3. You can even use a waterproof sheet, lay it on the ground, press the corn on top of it, and then seal the pit from all sides. This is very economical as you don’t have to dig in or construct the three walls, as in the above two methods. But the only minor drawback is that you can’t make a large heap (but you can many smaller ones if you want!)

Regardless of which method you use, remember this one thing: do not even think about buying your first animal till your silage is ready to be consumed.

Note that silage is an integral and essential part of your overall infrastructure for your dairy farm business. In Pakistan, corn is readily grown and you can even use the period between Wheat harvest and Rice sowing to ‘quickly’ grow the maize to be used for silage preparation (I am Alhumdulillah doing that!). But whatever you have to do, remember that silage for a dairy farm in Pakistan is essential (I can’t repeat this often, now can I?).

If you already have a dairy farm and are looking to expand and/or improve, even then, sell an animal or two to get the feeding sorted out.

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There are other important infrastructure requirements for a successful dairy farming operation in Pakistan. These will be discussed in other pages, God willing.

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39 Comments

  1. Ali Sabar Malik

    i have a small dairy farm of 30 animals. i want to make silage for them. from where we can get machine for making silage and what chemical is used in silage and what is used to preserve silage.

  2. yawar saleem

    brother my frezian cows so weak and not showing heat first time what i do. and milk productin on silag effected or not and any other wanda give with silage for milk production.

  3. Nowsherwan

    AOA
    Please tell from where silage in raes can be bought near Gujranwala / Sargodha

  4. inaam

    sir , would you please be kind enough to tell me about the essential ingredients that are to be used along with green fodder during silage preparation.

  5. Amir Chatha

    Hi , sir can u guide me that from where I can get silage machine ?

  6. Shahid Sahi

    Viable Method of Silage Preparation:

    Chop the fodder in the farm using movable machine with tractor ,same or another tractor with trolley to collect chopped fodder and transport it to the storage place for further pressing and covering.

    On the other hand, you will have to engage labour first for cutting the crop at farm,,,then transportation to the required place for chopping,,, then chopping process,,,,then again shifting of chopped fodder to the required place,,,then finally filling, pressing and covering . In this way lot of time will be wasted which will affect silage quality.Secondly, labour cost will make this method absolutely nonviable and you may not be able to get benefit from this fodder storage methodology.

  7. anees Murtaza

    is there any supplier available for silage? from where i can get ready to use silage. pls also tell the cost /kg approx

  8. shahid sahi

    You can use polyethene bags being used for transportation of fishery
    nursuries. These bags have enough strength for the purpose. If you
    live in Lahore you can get them.. opposite to urdu bazar…. you can
    see a variety of plastic bags over there. Now the procedure:

    1-Put some chopped fodder at bottom in a manner that no space is vacant at cornors.
    2- Now fill 1/4 th pf the bag and pree it manually or by foot.
    3-Similarly go on filling and pressing.
    4-Do not press so hard that you get the bag damaged.
    5-Put 1- inch layer of wheat straw(Toori) or shopped Rice straw(Parali) at the
    top to avoid air in case of loose grip of tie string.
    6-Now twist the top edge of bag and tie with plastic string.( any sort of string e.g
    plastic string or saiba or Sootri sort of thing).
    7- Your silage bag is ready. Use it after 40 days so mark the date with a marker
    ,, when you sealed it.
    8-Properly pressed filling shall ensure that air present in bag is not going to
    spoil the silage for sure but don’t allow external air to come in…i tried
    it successfully.

    In case of any query write to shahidaminsahi@gmail.com

    Precautions:

    1-Do not allow the air to enter in bags after sealing.so don’t use the bag having
    pin holes.( check them while purchasing)
    2-Filled bag should be handled with care, it may be damaged.
    3-Stack the filled bags at clean, even and smooth surface.
    4-Do the needful to avoid mice, they may damage whole lot by tearing the bags.
    5-You will be more successful than me if you reuse these bags for next season.

  9. asif

    if you can indicate from where we can get silage seeds or should we be using maize crop for production of silage

    • shahid sahi

      For silage crop you can use maiz seed easily available in market. Following are the brands being used:-

      1-Pioneer
      2-Sanganta
      3-ICI

      some others also….But i have used Pioneer. You can visit website for pioneer seed Pakistan.( believe me or not… im not Pioneer Sales personnel)

    • Najam ul Khattak

      Yes maize is best for silage

  10. hi,
    i would like to ask you about basic of dairy farm.we got lands in gujranwala but need approximately figures to start the business.could you plz guide me through.
    cheers

    • Moiez Omar

      Hi, Im too from gujranwala looking into the same business as a personal project. Ive been hunting around for data on these very same lines. Contact me at 03225544470 or send an email.

  11. khattabfarooq

    i) from where i can get the resources(Tractor , silage machine) to produce silage …???
    ii) The major problem i m facing is to decide the machinery to produce it economically , there are a lot of silage machines in market and those machines are too much costly as well ,,,
    iii) i need the machine with tractor to produce silage economically …

    • shahid Sahi

      How Much Silage do you want to produce? What is the number of animals you want to feed?

  12. awan.tasneem@yahoo.com

    i want to starta dairy form plz give mesom information

  13. awan.tasneem@yahoo.com

    very good continue this process for awairness of small former

  14. Shahid Sahi

    Dear Momekh / Bilal

    Usually a Cow (local breeds,Sahiwal,Cholistani,Dhanni,Dajal,Red Sindhi) require 30-40 Kg and Buffalo (Neeli Ravi) consume 60-80 Kg of green fodder daily.

    Any body explain that how a cow/buffalo of 350 Kg can survive on 15 KG of silage??

    Regards,

    • I think that is because of ‘concentrates’ and we can easily find examples of something like this in every day life.

      The same way a .5 ounces pill can deliver the right amount of nutrients that a heavy meal will.

      Would love other more ‘scientific’ explanations for this though.

    • Najam ul Khattak

      10% of the body weight.

  15. shahid Sahi

    Silage in Bags is much better method.
    You can use Plastic Bags of 40-50 Kg for this purpose. Consume one bag for three animals (weighing 300KG) daily.
    Advantages of Silage in Bags:-
    1-Easy to Use
    2-Easy to fill and seal.( You dont need to cut the bulk of fodder at once. Chop to fill the required no. of bags)
    3-Less chances of spoilage.

    Precautions:-
    1- Keep the mice and insects away from bags so that the bag remain air tight. Use some chemicals comercially available for this purpose.
    2-Chop the fodder such that it may not affect the bag.
    3-Press the chopped fodder with care.
    4-Sudan Grass Hybrid(Sada bahar), Millet(Jawar,Chari) are not prefferd to be used in bags.

    • shehzad

      A.A
      Thank U Sahi Sahab…. I appreciate ur reply.

    • zeeshan asif

      sir kindly tell me the quality of plastic bag that shall be used and how can we seal it easily and is it necessary to remove all air from bag if it is what is the procedure thank you

  16. shehzad

    A.A
    what kind of “SPECIAL CUTTER” are available in Pakistan to make silage, are they rental, what,s the cost per hour, or per ACRE.
    Plz reply. Thank U.

    • shahid Sahi

      You can use conventional 2-HP,(1450 RPM), Toka Machine if you have 5-6 animals.( however it should cut the fodder size as required for silage).

      For Big farm you definitely require fodder cutter that is meant for this job( see you tube videos)

      Nesttle also provides that Machine.

      Regards,

      Shahid

  17. Muhammad Rizwan

    Assalam o Alikum

    Dear Momekh
    my name Myhammad Rizwan iam working here in dubai and i want to start my business like dairy farm in pakistan?
    can u tell me what,s a quantity i can take start i have done from 7 cow and from where i buy these cow, and what,s about money how much i need to pay there for 7 cow,s??
    if u will give me ur mobile number then i will call so as soon as possible?
    iam waiting ur reply???

    Thank.s
    Rizwan Haider

  18. Hello momekh good job , what if we buy silage in bulk wil it be beneficial in terms of cost benefit ratio, this way we can do away with the cost of labour machines rents of land etc. pl comment

  19. for how many periods once prepared silage can be used with out detoriaration

    • I have heard silage pits being opened after AS ALONG AS 20 YEARS!!

      Once the silage is OPEN, it’s a different matter, and should be used.

      The idea is to keep the silage as air tight as possible. Hope this has answered your question 🙂

  20. Ali

    Any brother who has experience making silage in bags? please share your experience here

    • Bilal

      Silage can not be baged unless there is a way to keep it air tight and once its open have to be consumed with in 24-36 hrs.

      bails of corn silage, wrapped in UV raes protected plastic sheets, weigh around 400 kg, are avaliable in market and can be stored for almost one year if the bail is kept seal.(unopened)

  21. rao adnan habib

    please send me details of local made silage cutters,machines if you have

    • sarmad

      bro, i also need sailge machine, my crope is ready, but machine is nt available, so i am so tensed,….

  22. rao adnan habib

    how much silage is required by buffalo and cow.

    • Bilal

      It depends upon the weight of the animal normally a cow weighing 300-350 kg should consume 15 kg of silage per day

  23. Shahid Sahi

    Salam,

    How much silage is required by a Buffalo per day?

    How much land is required to grow corn for preparing silage for 15 Buffalos?

  24. Would you like to post some pictures of silage pits?

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