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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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ensiling
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
ensiling1
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
the ensiling process1
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
slide8

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
slide9

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
slide10

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
slide11

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
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
slide13

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
making 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
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
slide18

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
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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