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Improve Silage Quality With Inoculants

August 11, 2011

Escalating commodity prices are increasing overall feed costs for dairies. In addition, the increase in competition for cropland is driving up the cost of silage. “Even so,” says silage specialist John Avila, “silage is still the least expensive raw material on the farm, so it’s important to try to have as much of it as possible. Proper silage management must be practised, from the field to the bunk, to reduce losses and end up with quality feed.”

According to Avila, “in order to ensure fast and efficient silage fermentation, it’s crucial to use a silage inoculant. Research has shown that an inoculant with the right combination of lactic acid bacteria and enzymes will speed the fermentation process, thus reducing losses that occur during silage fermentation. The result is higher-quality silage, with more available to feed. Using silage inoculant allows producers to get more out of the same amount of silage.”

When selecting a silage inoculant, it’s important to choose a product that has been researched and proven through independent and university studies. It’s also vital to work with companies that will work with you and your harvester to ensure that the inoculant is being applied correctly. Ultimately, if the product isn’t applied correctly, it won’t work effectively. For proper inoculant application, make sure the application equipment is accurate and in good condition; selecting equipment that is easy to use and monitor will help the process go smoothly. Clean and calibrate the equipment before harvest. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to apply the product. During summer months, hot temperatures can have a negative effect on the bacteria in the silage inoculant, so it’s important to keep the product cool and out of direct sunlight. Avila recommends that you plan ahead with your inoculant supplier and harvester to make sure the right amount of product is available and used each day, based on the amount of silage being harvested.

Finally, Avila stresses the importance of working with a company that is readily available during the harvest to solve any problems that may come up, so there will be minimal downtime. Also, ensure every bit of forage is being treated with inoculant. When making silage, a team approach is needed to produce a quality feed and keep losses to a minimum. Good communication between the producer, farmer, consultants and harvesters is crucial to ensure the right amount of forage is harvested at the right time and no steps are skipped. “Using a quality silage inoculant, and applying it correctly, will help save money,” says Avila.

Jamesway is a manufacturer of silo unloaders, feeders & conveyors and feed carts.



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