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Effects of polyethylene colour and thickness on grass silage quality

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The aim of the investigation was to determine the influence of variations in thickness and colour of agricultural plastic film on silage preservation conditions and grass silage quality. For this purpose, 30 cylindrical plastic containers (mini-silos; 0·3 m3) were filled with chopped grass and covered with five films of different thickness and colour: 90 m, white; 125 m, green; 150 m, black; 200 m, green and 200 m, white. Four replications of each film type were placed in the open air. Two replications were housed indoors and exposed to an ‘artificial sky’ in a test apparatus. The surface temperature of the films was found to be strongly dependent on film thickness and colour. Results of the chemical analysis of silages did not reveal any significant influence of the films. This was also the case when restricting the analysis to the uppermost silage layer. The results showed that under the conditions of this experiment, well preserved forage can be produced with films of differing colour, as well as of lesser thickness.

Keywords: film cover; grass silage; plastic film; polyethylene; test apparatus

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2494.2003.00375.x

Affiliations: 1: Research Centre for Animal Production and Technology, University of Göttingen, Vechta, Germany 2: Institute of Agricultural Engineering, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

Publication date: September 1, 2003

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