Harvested forages silage
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HARVESTED FORAGES Silage. pp. 253-260. ENSILING. What is ensiling? Storing a forage or grain crop at a relatively high moisture concentration in anerobic conditions to have it undergo fermentation to lactic acid.

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HARVESTED FORAGES Silage

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HARVESTED FORAGESSilage

pp. 253-260


ENSILING

  • What is ensiling?

    • Storing a forage or grain crop at a relatively high moisture concentration in anerobic conditions to have it undergo fermentation to lactic acid.

    • Lactic acid will preserve silage as long as the silage isn’t exposed to oxygen


WHY ENSILE?


ENSILING

  • Goals

    • Decrease pH of ensiled crop to <4

    • Increase lactic acid concentration of ensiled crop to >4% of DM

      • Requires anerobic conditions

  • Avoid

    • Molding and heating of crop

      • Occurs if forage is exposed to oxygen

      • Forage DM% > 60%

    • Butyric acid production, protein degradation, and seepage from silage

      • Forage DM% < 30%

        • Dependent of forage species


APPROPRIATE MATURITY AND DM PERCENTAGE FOR ENSILING


THE ENSILING PROCESS


THE ENSILING PROCESS

  • Aerobic phase

    • Organisms

      • Plant enzymes

      • Aerobic bacteria and yeasts

    • Nutrient Metabolism

      • Sugars oxidized to CO2

    • Changes in forage

      • O2 is consumed and CO2 produced

      • Temperature increases to 115oF

      • Sugars decreased

    • Length of change

      • Desire < 24 hours

      • Extended by:

        • Too dry

        • Long chop length

        • Slow filling

        • Poor packing

        • No cover

      • In extended, results in:

        • Excessive heating

          • Increased ADIN


  • Heterofermentative phase

    • Organisms

      • Heterofermentative lactic acid bacteria

    • Nutrient Metabolism

      • Sugars fermented to acetic acid, lactic acid, and CO2

    • Changes in forage

      • Increased concentration of acetic acid and lactic acid

      • pH decreased to 5.0

      • Sugars decreased

    • Length of change

      • Desire < 1 week

      • Extended by:

        • Forage being too wet

        • If pH never drops to 5

          • Causes

            • Forage too wet

            • Inadequate sugars

          • Results

            • Clostridium bacteria growth

            • Butyric acid production

            • Protein degradation to NH3 and other forms of NPN


  • Homofermentative phase

    • Organisms

      • Homofermentativelactic acid bacteria

    • Nutrient Metabolism

      • Sugars fermented to lactic acid

    • Changes in forage

      • Increased concentration of lactic acid

        • 6 to 8% of DM

      • pH decreased to 3.8 to 4.2

      • Sugars decreased

    • Length of change

      • Desire < 2 weeks


  • Storage phase

    • If not exposed to oxygen

      • Forage well-preserved with little change in composition

    • If exposed to oxygen

      • Growth of aerobic bacteria and mold

        • Results in heating, nutrient loss, and decreased palatability

      • Growth of listeria bacteria

        • Results in listeriosis

          • Encephalitis

          • Metritis and abortion


  • Feedout phase

    • Exposes silage to oxygen

    • Growth of aerobic bacteria and molds

    • Results:

      • Heating

      • Loss of lactic acid

      • Nutrient loss

    • Losses minimized by adequate feedout rate

      • Match diameter of tower silos or width of bunker silos to herd size


SILO TYPES

  • Tower

    • 30 to 50% DM

    • Easy to pack

      • Good for hay crop or corn silage

    • Minimal exposed surface

    • Expensive

  • Bunker or trench

    • 30 to 40% DM

    • Difficult to pack

      • Not desirable for hay crop silage

    • Requires polyethylene cover

    • Considerable surface area at feeding

    • Less expensive than towers

  • Silo bags

    • 30 to 50% DM

    • Easy to pack

    • Minimal exposed surface

    • Versatile

    • Bags subject to punctures and tears

    • Relatively low capital investment


  • Big bale silage

    • 40 to 60% DM

    • Advantages

      • Inexpensive

      • Allows small amounts of forage ensiled

      • Transportable

      • No specialized equipment beyond wrapper

    • Limitations

      • Some large balers can not bale high moisture forage

      • Long forage more difficult to ensile than chopped forage

      • Bales are heavy

      • Plastic wrap subject to puncture and tears

      • Disposal of plastic


DM LOSSES FROM DIFFERENT SILO TYPES


PROPERTIES OF HIGH QUALITY SILAGE


MAKING HIGH QUALITY SILAGE

  • Harvest at appropriate maturity and moisture

  • Set chop length

  • Fill silo as rapidly as possible

  • Pack, pack and pack some more

  • Cover silos immediately

    • 6-mil plastic

    • Weight on bunker silos

  • Feedout

    • Adequate rate

    • Maintain clean face


SILAGE ADDITIVES

  • Water

    • Added if forage moisture is inadequate

    • Requires 5 gallons/ton to change DM by 1%

  • Bacterial inoculants

    • Lactobacilli

    • Add a minimum of 100,000 cfu/gm fresh forage

    • Useful to:

      • Improve lactic acid production if forage is harvested at excessive moisture concentration

      • Prevent aerobic damage at feedout or in feed bunk

  • Enzymes

    • Cellulases, hemicellulases, amylases, pectinases

    • Increase sugars to improve lactic acid production

    • No consistent improvement


  • NPN sources

    • Used with corn, sorghum, and cereal silages

    • Types

      • Anhydrous ammonia at 5 to 10 lb/ton fresh forage

      • Urea at 10 to 20 lb/ton fresh forage

    • Advantages

      • Increases crude protein content

      • Increases aerobic stability at feedout

  • Acids

    • Propionic or formic acid

      • Application: 10 to 20 lb/ton fresh forage

    • Applied to forage that is either too wet or too dry

      • Formic acid causes a rapid decrease in pH if too wet

      • Propionic acid inhibits mold growth in too dry

  • Sugar sources

    • Molasses, whey, or grain

    • Added to crops with low concentration of soluble sugars

      • Grasses and legumes

    • Increases lactic acid concentration

    • Loss of energy from the source


NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF HIGH QUALITY SILAGE

  • Lower feed consumption than fresh crop or hay

  • Lower NDF, but comparable ADF to fresh crop or hay

  • Comparable net energy concentration to fresh crop or hay

  • Comparable crude protein concentration to fresh crop, but greater than hay

  • Greater proportion of crude protein will be degradable in the rumenthan fresh crop or hay

  • Higher carotene content than hay


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