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EQ Supreme Silage Film

Our latest pre-stretch production technology means that EQ Supreme Silage film can be of a thinner gauge than conventional balewrap. Silage stretchwrap has come a long way since it first appeared on the market. EQ Supreme technology is the next major advance in this on-going evolution.

Now available in the EQ Supreme Silage stretchfilm product range, this new technology employs the very latest polymers and film manufacturing technology. It offers the professional user – such as the large scale farmer or agricultural contractor – a professional solution with additional benefits over more conventional products.

These benefits include:

• A more efficient wrapping process.

• Significant cost savings.

• Enhanced silage quality.

• Improved environmental credentials.

• Designed specifically for high output round bale integrated combo-wrappers. EQ Supreme is thinner than conventional balewrap thanks to the production methods employed including the fact that it is pre-stretched.

This thinner film profile allows more to be wound onto each reel (Should the customer require a longer roll). As such, EQ Supreme can have up to 2500 meters on a roll as opposed to the 1500m available on traditional bale wraps.

If a 2500mt is used, this means:

• Fewer stoppages for reel changes.

• Improved wrapping efficiency.

• Time savings.

• Reduced costs.

• 66% more bales per reel.

Estimates have concluded un-boxing and changing a reel can take 7 minutes.

By switching to a max length EQ Supreme roll with its (2500 meters in length) greater reel length, a user wrapping circa 350 bales a day can save up to60 minutes through fewer reel changes. Plus, you can also carry a full day’s film requirements on your wrapper thereby further increasing efficiency levels.

EQ Supreme Silage Stretchfilm Guide to successful bale wrapping:

Mowing & Baling:

Slurry and nitrogen should not be applied within 10 weeks of mowing. Timing of mowing is critical, partly to choose an adequate period of good weather and also to enable maximum grass sugars to be produced by ideally cutting after lunch on a sunny day. 
The crop should be spread to achieve uniform wilting, and may require conditioning to speed the process. 
There has been a tendency to aim for higher dry matter levels in recent years – there is no point in wrapping more water than necessary- but care should be taken not to exceed 60% DM. 
The crop should be rowed up so as to fill the width of the baler pick-up, which will enhance bale uniformity. If chopping is an option, this will speed the fermentation process which is so vital in order to preserve the bale, and will also enhance bale density and thereby reduce air space within the bale.
Care must be taken to avoid soil contamination.
Preparation of the bale wrapper A thorough pre-season check of the bale wrapper goes a long way to avoiding unnecessary down-time during the busy season.
With the wide range of bale wrappers now available, there is insufficient space here to discuss them individually, but one component is common to all machines, whatever their mode of operation, and that is the pre-stretch unit. 
This unit is also the one part of the machine which most affects film. 
Guide to successful bale wrapping Guide to successful bale wrapping performance, and whether or not it is correctly applied to the bale. 
Make sure in the first place that the pre-stretch rollers turn freely, and that the gears which stretch the film are in good condition and are lubricated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Also that there is no undue play in the bearings, by gripping each roller to check if there is any sideways movement, which if present could affect the way in which the film is stretched. 
Place a film reel in the unit, and check that the roller which runs against the film roll is precisely aligned from top to bottom with the film reel. If not, it can cause the film to tear from top or bottom. Also, with static pre-stretch units on turntable wrappers, check that the whole unit is absolutely vertical. 
It is essential that the pre-stretch rollers are kept clean. 
Some very old wrappers are still in use which has rubber rollers. These are very difficult to keep free from tack and dirt, and they also wear and eventually become smooth, which means that they can fail to apply the correct degree of stretch to the film

All rollers, however, require frequent cleaning, to prevent any build-up of tack from the film, which in turn attracts dust and debris. This is best carried out using a wire brush (alloy rollers) or cloth, using white spirit or a Jizer-type product, and the rollers should be thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom. Do not use petrol. 
The areas of most concern are where the top and bottom edges of the film contact the rollers, where a major build-up of tack can occur, becoming so sticky that it can cause film to spiral-tear, i.e. from the top or bottom edges. 
With the film reel still installed, check that the springs on the pre-stretch unit have not become weak, and are keeping the brake roller firmly against the reel. Any weakness would be particularly apparent if the same check were made with a reel which has been mostly used up, when the springs are at their least effective. If you are in doubt, replace them with new.
Make sure that other wearing components of the machine are checked in accordance with the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, and any necessary adjustments made. 
In particular, the belts on turntable wrappers should be inspected for wear or if they have become too slack, which can adversely affect the consistency with which the bale rotates, and therefore the degree of film overlap. 
Attention should also be paid to the cut and hold device, making sure that it operates correctly and cuts cleanly, which will avoid long film ‘tails’ and down-time during the season.

Guide to successful bale wrapping:

How to wrap:

• Make sure that film reels carried on either the wrapper or in a vehicle are adequately protected against damage.

• Install the film reel(s) on the pre-stretch unit, thread and attach to the cut and hold device in accordance with the Manufacturer’s instructions:

• On turntable machines, where the height of the pre-stretch unit is adjustable, place a bale on the turntable, and adjust the height so that the centers of the film and the bale are horizontally in line. 

• Wrap the bale, then on one of the flat ends measure the width of the last piece of film applied. With 750mm film, this should be between 580–610mm, and with 500mm film 380-410mm. 

• Any significant variation outside these limits means that a problem exists with the pre-stretch unit.

• A minimum of four film layers should be applied to round silage bales where DM levels do not exceed 50%. 

• A minimum six layers must be applied to bales over 50% DM, coarse crops and all square bales. 

• However, it has been independently shown that there are likely to be economic benefits from applying six layers to all bales, which will also withstand handling better. 

• Check the necessary number of turns required manually on the first bale by wrapping until the bale is just covered, add one to the number of turns recorded on the counter, then double the total, for a 4-layer application, and treble it for six layers.

• Bales are best wrapped at the stacking point to save handling issues.

Every effort should be made to avoid handling damage, but if any occurs, this should be immediately repaired using a UV-protected adhesive tape. 

The stack should be protected with a close-woven polypropylene net after placing some tyres on some of the top bales to keep the net suspended off the bale surface. 

Bait stations, protected from the elements and animals, should be placed around the stack perimeter, and not within. Plastic film reel cores are ideal for this.

Choice of colour:

Whilst black film is still the predominant colour used in the UK, green or white film is used in most other countries. The paler colours are heat-reflective, which is valuable where temperatures are high, but in the UK and the ROI, where climate is more variable and generally cooler, black film is quite adequate for silage bales. 

However, with high DM bales, e.g. haylage where fermentation within the bales is less certain and often slow, it is advisable to use a pale colour, as heat build-up within the bales could encourage the development of spoilage organisms.

Trouble Shooting 

Identifying problems after wrapping:

Bird and vermin damage:

  • Bird damage is most common if bales are left around the field after wrapping, though it can also occur in storage, where the stack is not netted.
  • It is easily recognised by the presence of holes through all film layers mainly on bale tops though pheasants can attack bales at low level. NB. Holes through all film layers do not indicate a film quality problem, but result from damage of some kind.

Film breaking during wrapping;
  • There are several possible causes of this. Film reels, in particular the reel edges, must be handled with care, and even minor damage may cause the film to break several times.
  •  Keep reels in their cartons until ready for use. 
  • Check that no damage has occurred to the pre-stretch rollers which in turn will damage the film, and that they are clean from top to bottom and devoid of tack build-up. If tack is allowed to accumulate on the rollers, this can cause ‘spiral tearing’.
  • Occasionally, a film fault can occur which will cause the film to break, sometimes appearing as holes which open up when stretched, or a ‘die line’, which is a horizontal semi-opaque line running along the film length.
  • NB. Occasional small holes, which can appear in all brands of film from time to time, rarely cause a problem and usually pass through the pre-stretch unit and on to the bale without problem, where they are normally covered over by the next layer.
  • Film breakage can also be caused by film overstretch.

Insufficient layers of film on bale:
• Check for over–stretch giving increased film ‘neck–down’ and leaving areas of reduced layer – possible causes higher ambient temperatures when wrapping,  pre-stretch rollers dirty with film tack causing film to over–stretch
• Ensure that significant layers are being applied by using the calibration instructions in the ‘how to wrap’ section.
• Ensure bale does not slip on turntable and cause irregular film application pattern. 
• Film roll not correctly aligned with bale, causing irregular wrapping pattern on bail. Holes in film on bales
• High dry matter crop wrapped, puncturing film.
• Bird damage, easily recognised by crop pulled out through film surface by birds.
• Damaged caused to bales when ejected from wrapper or during handling.

Under stretch:
  • Film which is being applied to the bale, loose or slack indicates a problem with the pre-stretch unit. It has no connection with film quality. 
  • This is relatively uncommon these days, but usually occurs on older machines with rubber rollers, where they have become smooth and worn, and do not grip the film to apply adequate stretch. 
  • They should be replaced by alloy rollers. Also check that the pre-stretch unit springs have not weakened.

Flush cores:
The reel cores should project by a few millimeters beyond the reel end. Any reel which will not run because the core is flush with the film at one end should be returned to the branch for replacement/credit and retained for further examination.

Telescoped reels;
  • Film reel ends should be flat. 
  • Telescoping refers to reels where one end has ‘domed’, the other end having become concave.
  • At all stages, the problem usually renders the reel unusable, as it causes the film to foul on part of the wrapper. 
  • This is a manufacturing fault, and any such reels should be returned.

Film layers not adhering on bale:
  • This can result from a low film tack level, or wrapping in the rain. 
  • Tack is also less effective if the reels have been kept in cold conditions prior to use, and /or are used in cold conditions.
  • Normally, film passing through the pre-stretch unit is quite noisy and produces a ‘crackling’ sound. If this is absent, and film layers 
  • are not adhering well, film tack level may be low. 

Loose film ‘tails’:
Generally, the cut ends or ‘tails’ of the film should adhere to the bale on completion of wrapping. 
How well this happens will depend on temperature, wind, and how cleanly the wrapper cuts the film at the end of the cycle. If it only partially cuts the film, then on bale dispatch a long film tail will result which will not adhere well.
NB. Film tails will sometimes occur when ‘combi’ baler/wrappers are in use in very dry conditions. This results from clouds of dust from the opening bale chamber coating the film, and preventing good adherence.

Split bales:
  • Splits in film on wrapped bales often expose the forage, and usually result from insufficient layers of film having been applied to part of the bale.
  • This is confirmed by the fact that they very rarely occur on square bales, where 6 – layer application is standard. The usual cause is where a 4-layer application is made, but the wrapper is stopped before the cycle is complete, meaning that a part of the bale only received one or two layers.
  • This will result in a split or it will show itself as a semi opaque strip just ahead of where the wrapping stopped.
  • Any damage to film, from whatever cause, should be immediately patched using a UV-protected adhesive tape. 
  • Bales in storage should be inspected regularly and similarly repaired if necessary. 
  • The other possible cause of splits in film is overstretching, resulting from a malfunction of the pre-stretch unit. 
  • Checks should be on made on film width on the bales, as described in the ‘How to Wrap’ section.

Splitting in Bales.

Splitting in wrapping the Bales.

Problems During Storage - Mould and Spoilage

Moulds and spoilage in the main become apparent on opening bales for feeding, and have numerous possible causes.
Problem bales should be examined for bird, vermin or mechanical damage, which if present will have allowed air into the bale. 
The bale should also be checked to ensure that it received the minimum recommended number of film layers. It may be advisable to take a sample for later checking.
An example of mould development is, where the area of the bale had insufficient film layers and allowed air ingress.

Other equally common causes are that the crop itself was either unsuitable (i.e. over-mature, low in sugars) or was contaminated with either soil or nitrogen/slurry residues. 
Also, many cases examined have shown DM levels to be much too high, in some cases well beyond the recommended limits. 
Haylage is a classic case, which in good Spoilage organisms can also appear before bales are opened! If birds or vermin make even minor holes through weather can turn into hay where it lies in the field before it is baled. 
Wrapping hay can be a recipe for disaster! 
For good fermentation, adequate moisture must be present to ‘kick-start’ the process, which is so vital in consuming remaining oxygen within the bale, producing an adequate level of lactic acid which then stabilises and preserves the bale. 

Top 10 bale wrapping tips

1. The crop must be suitable and at the right stage.
2. Bale at a time to maximise grass sugar levels.
3. The wrapper should be set up correctly and in good order.
4. Choose a good quality reputable film.
5. Apply minimum four film layers to round bales under 50% DM.
6. Apply minimum six film layers to all bales of 50% DM and over and to all square bales. Do not wrap bales where DM exceeds 60%
7. Calibrate wrapper regularly to make sure that all areas of the bale receives sufficient film - don’t assume that all bales are the same size.
8. Field wrapped bales should be moved without delay and stacked as per manufacturer instructions.
9. Any handling damage must be repaired immediately.
10. Stacks should be vermin baited as recommended and covered with a protective net.