The Key to Maximizing Profit: Quality Silage

August 9, 2016

The Key to Maximizing Profit: Quality Silage

Making high quality silage is about achieving the twin goals of rapid, efficient front-end fermentation and back-end stability during storage and feedout.

Even in the best situations, there are likely to be challenges simply due to variability in the crop or weather variations during harvest. However, focusing on good management practices, including selecting the right inoculant, will help producers defend silage against challenges.

The key to reducing initial fermentation losses is to fill, pack, cover, seal quickly and use an inoculant proven to dominate the fermentation and produce a rapid, efficient pH drop.  Driving a fast, efficient fermentation helps stabilize the silage environment, which in turn maximizes dry matter (DM) recovery and prevents spoilage.

With spoilage losses, the key is to prevent or delay the growth of yeasts, and subsequently molds, that grow when oxygen gets into the silage at feedout. Choosing the right forage inoculant, can help with this; the high dose rate Lactobacillus buchneri 40788 is reviewed and allowed to claim efficacy in preventing the growth of yeasts and molds in silages and HMC.

When producers review inoculant options, it’s important to look for evidence that a product has been proven in the specific crop to be ensiled. Small grain silages, corn silages, haylages and high-moisture corn (HMC) face different ensiling challenges.

Producers should choose an inoculant proven to help provide a fast, efficient fermentation for low DM crops (<30 percent DM), crops harvested in cloudy conditions or where there is a history of clostridial issues or excessive shrink losses. Specifically, the lactic acid bacteria Pediococcus pentosaceus 12455 — fueled by sugars generated by high activity enzymes — is proven to promote a fast, efficient front-end fermentation

Implementing good silage management practices and a research proven inoculant can help save producers thousands of dollars in preventable dry matter loss. The preventable DM losses that are incurred during the initial fermentation are made up of the more valuable nutrients, such as sugars, starches and soluble proteins, which play a role in the cattle’s overall feedstuffs.

Combined with good management practices, the right inoculant can help add to your bottom line of creating high-quality forage and maximizing profit.

As featured in Rural Contractor’s Green to Gold 2016

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