High quality silage: 5 points to consider

26-07-2017 | |
Photo: Henk Riswick
Photo: Henk Riswick

Silaging, also known as ensiling, is used by farmers all over the world to preserve forage. But it also comes with challenges. Experts from animal nutrition company Biomin identified 5 key challenges and their solutions.

With feed costs accounting for 50% to 70% of dairy farm inputs, and forage accounting for 40% to 60% of the ration, it is vital to ensure the quality of the forage produced on farm. There are many sources of spoilage.

Temperature

Prolonged and elevated temperatures cause significant loss of nutrients from the ensiled material. However, in warm climates, an elevated temperature may persist in the silage for several months.

pH levels

Higher pH levels create an environment that promotes the growth of spoilage bacteria and molds, thereby heightening the risk of mycotoxin contamination occurring.

Yeast

The negative effect of yeast in silage is often underestimated, but can reduced by having a proper dry matter content at harvest, cut length, good compaction at storage, and proper feed out methods.

Clostridia

In high moisture material, the biggest enemy is Clostridia; an anaerobic endospore-forming bacteria. The products of clostridial fermentation are responsible for depressed feed intake, increased risk of ketosis, hemorrhagic bowel syndrome (HBS), and sudden death of animals.

Moulds

Field fungi (e.g. Aspergillus and Fusarium spp.) are capable of producing mycotoxins. None of the silage additives or inoculants available on the market today are able to degrade field origin mycotoxins as they are resistant to low pH and anaerobic conditions.

The full article (extended version) can be read on Biomin’s website.

Koeleman
Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor