Making a silage pit in Kenya

Trainer Jan Hulsen is doing CowSignals and Feeding Signals in Kenya. Here he is showing you the process of making a silage pit.

The biggest challenge is getting the process organized and prevent the silage in the pit from heating up. This is causing losses in nutrition value. Jan is doing is his best to help them do a better job next time.

What would you suggest to prevent the heating? Please share your thoughts below!

Comments (6)

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Liset Karman

Is is neccessary to put the silage put in a pit? It seems to me, if the piling up is prevented, the silage would not brood and get heated. So speading out the silage could help.

Grant Coburn

they need to remove the air in the stack rolling with a heavy roller or wheeled type vehicle to squeeze the air out of the stack. traditionally we use tractors to do this but you probably do not have one there. . narrow wheels do a better job than wide rollers as you want to put as much pressure on the crop as possible to remove as much air as you can.


Hi Jan. Anaerobic conditions is the major factor for a succesful fermentation also in a warm climate. There is quite some information from researchers in Israël. I also recommend to minimize surface losses. So don't spread the material over a large area. Compacting the material is indeed also important to reduce oxygen penetration in the silo. Do you cover the bottom of the pit with plastic?

Joep Driessen

Good questions: many ways to store mais! Best way is prevent air coming in and press all air out before you cover it with plastic.

Yes we would like to start with plastic.
You can also do it on flat ground. Then the sides will come inwards while you are driving over with heavy tractor to get the air out!
Cover it the SAME DAY!! with plastic!!
And put extra weight on the top to prevent air going in!

Bruce Braithwaite

The reason the silage is heating up is a compaction issue . The process of fermentation is an anaerobic one and you are allowing air into it which is allowing aerobic fermentation. Maize silage needs to be compacted , rolled with the heaviest tractor you have you use the wheels of the tractor to compact it . You can never compact it enough , you then cover the whole pit or bung with plastic sealing the edges with sand bags and when you use the silage once you remove from the face cover and seal again. Air in maize silage is a killer , use a silage innoculant at harvesting to create the right environment for the right kind of fermentation. Make sure it is at the right DM as too dry and you get incomplete fermentation and mouldy silage too wet and the nutrient value is affected

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