IN bad times why risk making anything but the best possible silage with the most proven additive?
Using an additive improves silage fermentation and quality, but also pay attention to how you fill that silage clamp.
Silage is produced when beneficial bacteria ferment some of the sugars in grass to lactic acid. This ‘pickles’ the grass – preventing the growth of spoilage micro-organisms – and preserves nutrients. An efficient fermentation requires air-free con-ditions within the clamp. Additives also play a key role in reducing DM losses.
Ecosyl, the world’s most in-dependently trialed and proven silage additive, containing Lacto-bacillus plantarum MTD/1, has been shown to improve silage ME and D value, and to boost milk yield by an average of 1.2L/cow/day.
Do not leave preservation to chance as you do not know if bacteria populations on grass are sufficient for an effective fermentation.
When used correctly, Ecosyl will supply one million ‘good’ bacteria per gram of forage thus offering assurance of a good fermentation.
Fifteen independent trials, using the MTD/1 strain of Lactobacillus plantarum in Ecosyl, have shown that dry matter (DM) recovery was boosted by 3.7 per cent
when compared to non-treated silage.
And if 1,000t of DM silage were clamped that would equate to an extra 37t back at feed-out.
Given the increase in energy content, digestibility and DM intakes, the use of treated silage also leads to better animal performance. In trials, live-weight gain achieved by finishing beef animals was 10.5 per cent higher on treated silage compared to untreated silage.
However, some of us still do not roll and consolidate clamps properly, thus leading to reduced quality the following winter.
Failing to consolidate the clamp properly can lead to reduced fermentation, more waste and increased aerobic instability prob-lems at feed-out.
Therefore, squeezing as much air as possible and achieving the correct clamp density is vitally important. Removing these air pockets is necessary as the fermentation and preservation pro-
cess needs an oxygen-free en-vironment.
Often silage isn’t consolidated enough simply because trailers are arriving at the clamp too quickly and grass is not spread properly. A case of more speed, but less quality feed next winter!
Top tips for consolidation:
n You can only really efficiently consolidate the top 15cm. So layers should be even and no greater than this depth before being rolled and the process repeated with the next layer;
n For a grass silage at 30 per cent DM, aim for a target silage density of 250kg of DM/m³ or 750kg/m³ in fresh-weight terms. Also, avoid over-filling the clamp as once clamps are filled above the wall level the density drops;
n Once the clamp has been well rolled, sealing the clamp will stop oxygen from entering the pit. It is advisable to use side sheets and to leave a good overlap with the top sheet of preferably 1.5m;
n Before these side sheets are folded in, an oxygen barrier film should be placed on top and then a top sheet fitted. Also ensure that as much weight is placed on top of the clamp as possible. This weight maintains better density in the weakest part of the clamp – the top.
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