A comparison of silage distributors

Updated on:
December 6, 2023
Silage loading technology
Karoline Glöckner


The differences between drum silage distributors and rotary silage distributors

Spreading inside the bunker silo is an important operation in the feed harvesting process, one that must not be underestimated. If you work here with the right technology that suits your farm, you lay the best possible groundwork for dependable lactic acid fermentation of your silage. MAMMUT can provide rotary as well as drum systems for silage spreading and also gives you the option of choosing from a broad range of types and model series. We have examined this topic in greater detail and have prepared the most important information for you.

The SILO FOX drum-type silage spreader spreads large unloading volumes reliably and easily.

With the SILO TWIST system, uniform results can be obtained in silage spreading.

This spreading process is important because it prepares the feed well for compaction and this saves valuable time.

Our focus is always on feed quality

When making silage, time is often a key factor. The faster air emerges from the harvested crop, the better the lactic acid fermentation process then performs. Of course, this also calls for appropriate technology for the spreading and compaction of the feed. Ensure that you reduce the layer thickness uniformly to a maximum of 30 cm – which makes the feed easier to compact. Then you should leave sufficient time for rolling because good compaction protects against accidental reheating. Starting with mowing, preparation and swathing, through to silage spreading, every single step in the harvesting process is immensely important. The SILO FOX drum silage distributors or the SILO TWIST rotary silage distributors, impact force in the silo can be improved which ultimately creates more time for compaction. This is because cattle prefer eating unblemished high-quality feed and this has a positive impact on performance and animal health.

The power of the familiar

The question about whether to use rotary or drum silage spreaders is not always easy to answer. Ultimately, it depends on many factors, in particular on the system you prefer to work with. Depending on the length, type and properties of the feed and the related harvesting technology as well as local conditions, either the drum silage spreader or its rotary counterpart will prove to be the more popular. Specifically with agricultural contractors or on farms that use several different drivers, it is advisable to clarify in advance which system is better for the work in hand. This is a very subjective question: What for some may be ‘the only true technology’ may not necessarily be all that good for others. Good research and perhaps also asking for references are advisable. At the end of the day, the choice of spreading technology must suit the people working with it – that is the only way to obtain a suitable outcome from the silage-making process. To enable you independently to gain an overview of these different silo spreader systems, we have compiled the most important features in this article.

The SILO FOX drum silage spreader - the classic for flat silos

The drum system is ideal when large quantities are being unloaded or if you are working in narrow bunker silos where powerful forward spreading is required. In particular with loading trailers without dispensing equipment or on push-off wagons, it is important to spread large volumes into a flat carpet within a short period of time – for this, the SILO FOX drum silage spreader is the right device to use. A practical advantage is that the centre of gravity of the SILO FOX is close to the three-point mounting, making it easy to swivel it away from the silo wall. Also, with MAMMUT silage spreaders, the spreading width can be adapted to suit individual circumstances. There are four different model sizes in the drum spreader range. The main difference is in the drum diameter. Starting with a diameter of 1.04 m on the CLASSIC type, to a drum diameter of 1.15 m on the middle model, the TITAN, then the two professional models, the GIGANT (Ø 1.28 m) and KOLOSS (Ø 1.48 m), MAMMUT can provide a versatile range of options to suit tractor size and the amount of feed involved.

Practical tip:

Ideally, the silage spreader should be exactly as wide as the tractor – providing a comfortable drive feel and preventing collisions with the silo wall. The drum diameter of the spreader is determined primarily by the unloading volume: The higher the heap, the larger the diameter needs to be. Due to the ingenious centre of gravity point on the MAMMUT silage distributor, it is easy to swivel it away from the wall.

The ingenious choice of swivel point on the SILO FOX enables it to swivel away from the silo wall very effectively.

Time factor: When making silage, it is important to match the harvesting vehicles well to one another.

Even large unloading volumes are no problem for MAMMUT drum silage distributors.

Rotary silage spreaders – now it's all about width

The rotary silage distributor is a suitable device for anyone wishing to spread smaller unloading heights across a wide area quickly and conveniently. The layer thickness of the feed is usually reduced effectively by just one pass across it by a vehicle equipped with the rotary spreader, preparing it perfectly for compaction. Hydraulically folding and telescopic swathe cloths as accessories enable the edges of a silo to be protected in a compact manner – the silage distributors in the SILO TWIST series are therefore perfectly suited to free-standing silo heaps without walls, or to wide mobile silos. Ingenious optional accessories such as electrical activation that enable the swathe limiters to be operated easily help to make operations seamless and user-friendly. MAMMUT offers three different types of rotary silage distributors: The HURRICANE, CERES and DONAR models differ in terms of size and of spreading performance – making it possible to find the right silage distributor to suit the type of feed, the unloading height or the size of tractor.

Practical tip:

The optional swathe limiters are not only useful on free-standing silo heaps. Even if the classic mobile silo is intended to fill beyond the walls, the side cloths provide robust edge protectors, preventing any feed from being spread beyond the confines of the silo. If the tractor does not have enough double-action functions for the hydraulically folding or telescopic swathe limiters, MAMMUT is still able to provide a very wide range of additional options for activation.

With the SILO TWIST, fast spreading across a wide area is possible.

Because the rotary silage distributor operates so efficiently, the layer thickness can usually be reduced with just one pass by the vehicle.

The optional swath cloths enable you to create almost vertical edges.

Improving silage quality continuously

An effective harvesting operation is of course important for successful silage making. You should therefore carefully match your harvesting vehicles to one another, and to the corresponding appliances in the silo. Due to the continuous rise in feed unloading volumes, spreading and compaction in flat silos often constitute a bottleneck. While the size of field choppers, loaders and push-off wagons is increasing all the time, the same is unfortunately not true of the bunker silo. Consequently, the challenge usually involves accommodating as much feed as possible in the existing silo, to the highest standard of quality. However, you certainly need to pay attention to ensuring that retrieval performance matches compaction speed: If too much feed is delivered in a short space of time, causing the tractor with roller to perform it compaction work less carefully than it should, that lack of compaction can have an adverse impact on quality. It is widely acknowledged that thinner layers are easier to compact. Good spreading technique is therefore essential to save valuable time while harvesting and to increase effectiveness. This enables the undesirable ‘mattress effect’, caused by insufficient compaction of the feed, to be avoided consistently, which in turn further improves feed quality. With MAMMUT’s drum or rotary silage distributors, you can assure a seamless silage-making operation and high-quality basic feed now and into the long-term future.

Rotary or drum silage spreader?

The German trade journal ‘Profi’ has examined the relative merits and demerits of rotary and drum silage spreaders in greater detail. In an extended practical test, the Silo Twist DONAR and Silo Fox KOLOSS models were subjected to a practical test on a farm in the North of Germany. The aim of this operation was to compare and to illustrate the differences between these two spreading systems. The article provides a good insight into this topic – take a look!

More about silo retrieval technology from Mammut

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