packing a corn silage pile

Over next month, many dairies will stockpile their corn silage inventory for the coming year. While chopping and packing is old hat for most of us, employee safety is paramount as we head into the harvest season.

Before hitting the fields, the Pro-Dairy OSHA Work Group recommends implementing and reviewing the following preharvest, filling and pile-covering safety checks with your harvest crew:


  • Check trucks and equipment. Ensure that tires are properly inflated, worn tires are changed and that lights all function.
  • Check field entry routes for washouts and culvert problems.
  • Mark driveways with flags so that drivers know where the edge is.
  • Check common routes for road crew activity or other issues.


  • If new silage is added to old silage, mark where the two materials are joined as these areas can be unstable during silage removal.
  • Avoid putting new silage over the top of existing covered piles.
  • Staff should be told the target pile height.
  • Packing tractor(s) should be ROPS equipped, and operators should be belted in.
  • Minimize exterior side slope steepness as much as practical, and beware of soft spots.
  • Only the most experienced equipment operators should pack.
  • Due to tip-over hazard, for hydraulic dump bodies, do not back up onto the pile to dump.
  • Inform all staff that only authorized personnel should be in the silo filling area.


  • Before filling begins, designate those who will work near the edge.
  • Make sure workers are not wearing slick surface shoes.
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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2015
September 14, 2015

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