As the cost of concentrates compensating for poor silage quality can be 3 to 4 times as high, it is economically very important to produce as much milk from forage or silage as possible.
To feed high quality silage the farmer needs to manage 3 important factors:
1) Maturity of the grass or maize during harvest
2) Making sure that the fermentation process in the silage clamp or bale is controlled
3) Prevention of aerobic spoilage during storage and feed out
The maturity of the harvested grass or maize has an influence on the feeding value and digestibility. Very important is a right balance between highly fermentable components such as sugar, cellulose and starch and components that stimulates rumination (cell wall components of plants).
Good fermentation of the silage after harvest is based on a quick reduction of oxygen by tight packing in the clamp, and the quick reduction of pH, which stops microbial usage of highly valuable nutrients in the silage.
Prevention of aerobic spoilage is extremely important as this may account for more than 50 % of total dry matter losses of a silage. Main reason for aerobic spoilage is yeast metabolizing lactic acid, which should be prevented by using the right silage additives.
Silage additives containing formic and propionic acid should be used when the following risk factors are present:
a) High moisture maize
b) Maize and Barley Whole crop silage
c) Silage with a dry matter percentage above 40 %
d) Silage fed during warm weather conditions
e) Silages with a slow feed out rate
f) When silages are moved from one bunker to another
Producing more milk from high quality silage has beneficial effects on animal health and animal performance resulting in better economical result of your farm!