Farm Ireland

Sunday 21 April 2019

Silage contractors set to pass higher costs on to farmers

Plan ahead to cut your silage costs
Plan ahead to cut your silage costs
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Farmers planning to make baled silage this summer should be under no illusions about the costs involved.

Do you know how much it is going to cost for a bale to be made this summer?

Last month the Farm Contractors Association mooted a 5PC increase in silage making contracting charges in 2019 in response to what they say are increased costs of machinery and higher labour costs.

Contractors say they will be charging €14 per bale (plus VAT at 13.5pc) for round bale silage in 2019.

This charge assumes the contractor is supplying the plastic and includes baling, wrapping (four layers), stacking and moving the bale.

Where the farmer supplies the plastic the cost per bale is €11.

One of the key costs involved in round bale production is the plastic or polymer used, and there are some interesting new trends developing.

Polymer prices account for about 70pc of the manufacturing costs for bale wrap film.

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The good news is that, so far this year, plastic film wrap prices have not increased. Armagh-man Lloyd Dawson is sales director with RPC bpi Agriculture, the firm behind well known silage film brand Silotite.

Film-on film wrapping Mr Dawson says that in recent years there has been a surge in film-on-film wrapping rather than traditional netwrap.

One such product is Baletite, which is a five-layer pre-orientated film created for the next generation of combination balers that can apply film instead of net, such as the McHale Fusion 3.

Plus, Mr Dawson says Baletite has been designed to enhance the ensiling process and protect the bale contents, reducing dry matter losses when compared to netwrap.

The other key advantage is that users don’t have to manually separate the layers when a bale is opened because both can be recycled together; this saves time and cuts out a notoriously messy job for farmers.

In terms of plastic pricing, this year bale wrap prices for Silotite brand five-layer film are between €83-€85 per roll, including VAT and the IFFPG levy.

Meanwhile the Baletite product which comes in a 1380mm x 2000m roll will cost between €200-€205 per roll (each roll yields 135-145 bales per roll on average)

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