Slick Way To Stack Silage
Slickest new system we have seen for putting up quality silage for least cost is a portable stack former introduced by Kools Brothers, Appleton, Wis.
Silage is blown into the former with a conventional high capacity blower -- the same type used to fill upright silos. As the former is filled, it's moved ahead about 2 ft. at a time and refilled to make stacks of unlimited length.
By using a blower with a high fan tip speed, such as Kools model KB 60 or KB 1000, silage is packed so tightly that there is very little spoilage. "You can cover the piles with plastic but it really isn't necessary," Robert Kools told FARM SHOW. "The stack former itself will handle any type of silage you can get through the blower, including corn stover."
For the farmer who already has upright storage, Kools suggests that he put up extra stacks of silage using the new former and a blower, then reloading the stacks into the upright silos. For the farmer who doesn't have upright storage, or who has some but needs more storage capacity, Kools suggests investing in the former and, if you don't already own one, a high speed blower. "Silos cost a lot more money and are never big enough. With this new stacking system, you can build stacks of unlimited length, and for a lot less cost than conventional upright storage. There is no way you can pack silage this tightly by driving over regular stacked silage with a tractor. What's more, this new stacking system is safer since it eliminates the need for driving any kind of vehicle on the pile to pack it."
Key to the system is the former itself. It measures 20 ft. wide at the bottom, 10 ft. at the top, and 11 ft. long. The portable unit folds to a narrow 7 ft. width and can be towed down the road behind a pickup at speeds up to 50 mph. It takes one man about three minutes to convert the unit from set-up to transport position, or vise versa, according to Kools.
"A key advantage with this system is that it preserves the silage without having to go to the expense of stuffing or pressing it into special bags or containers to preserve it," explains Kools. "There is no bag to buy, and no bag to bother with when it comes time to feed silage out of the pile."
Kools adds that to start the pile, rear doors in the former are kept closed. After blowing in about five loads to completely fill the interior of the former, the doors are raised and the former pulled forward about 2 ft. Another two or three loads are blown in to fill the former and it's again pulled forward another 2 ft. A chain used for towing is hooked so the former and blower move forward as a unit on each move without having to be repositioned or realigned every time.
An oscillating elbow supplied by the manufacturer automatically moves the blower spout back and forth to uniformly refill the former each time it's pulled forward.
Kools notes that a high speed blower, such as his company's KB 60, powered by a tractor with a 540 rpm pto will drive silage into the former at about 96 mph. The Model KB 1000 Kools blower, operated at 1,000 rpm, kicks out silage at 143 mph.