Due to losses that occur during the fermentation process, silage as a rule does not maintain the same amount of dry matter and nutrients as fresh crops or pasture. However, using a quality silage inoculant can keep those losses to a minimum, helping make the most of the valuable feed source that is silage when livestock need it most.
Fermentation speed is the key factor in determining just how much dry matter, nutrients and feed energy is lost in the silage stack, and is influenced by the type and number of fermentation bacteria present.
When a silage stack is sealed, anaerobic bacteria multiply and convert sugars to acid, which preserves the silage. Although all crops have a range of bacteria present already, they differ in how efficiently they convert sugar to acid, which can slow down the fermentation process. The best silage is produced when high levels of lactic acid-producing bacteria are present.
Silage inoculants remove the ambiguity of what bacteria is present in the stack. They are applied to the crop at harvest time and provide optimal strains of lactic acid-producing bacteria in ideal numbers to efficiently ferment the pasture or crop.
A high-quality silage has greater dry matter recovery (less shrinkage, spoilage and run-off), palatability (higher feed energy levels) and increased animal performance (more milk or meat per tonne of silage fed).
Pioneer offers five tested and proven products to help improve the silage quality of a variety of crops, with three of these suitable for use on maize:
- Pioneer brand 1174: An inoculant suitable for all types of silage including pasture, cereal and lucerne silage. Helps improve fermentation, retain nutrient content and enhance digestibility.
- Pioneer brand 11C33: Helps keep maize silage cooler for longer, enabling it to be fed out up to a day in advance.
- Pioneer brand 1132: Produces top quality maize silage for high-producing dairy cows and specialised beef production.
Pioneer’s Appli-Pro applicator technology means the inoculant is distributed evenly throughout the silage, so you don’t worry about too much or too little inoculant being applied, or what bacteria levels are truly present in the stack or bale.
For more information on inoculants, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative.
Supplied by Pioneer Brand Products