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Grass and forage special: Developments in silage inoculants

The first new bacteria registered for use in silage inoculants in more than 20 years is being combined with a proven strain to form a new bacterial combination.

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Grass and forage special: Developments in silage inoculants

Following 10 years of extensive research and development, L.hilgardii I-4785 has been registered for use in silage inoculants in combination with L.buchneri 40788, which is already the most widely proven strain for aerobic stability.

 

Roy Eastlake, technical support manager at Lallemand Animal Nutrition, says: “L. buchneri has long been the gold standard for producing aerobically stable silage, but can take up to 60 days to have an effect. L.hilgardii on the other hand is active much earlier.”

 

The new bacterial strain combination quickly produces a number of anti-fungal compounds during the start of fermentation which significantly reduce the populations of both yeasts and moulds, so reducing the threat of heating.

 

Silages treated with the new combination took longer to heat up and did not heat up to such a high temperature, preserving feed value. They also remained more stable for longer.

 

Mr Eastlake says: “Compared to an untreated silage, the benefit of reducing heating using the new inoculant was to retain sufficient energy to produce an extra 7,500 litres from forage per 1,000 tonnes made.”

 

Mr Eastlake says the other benefit of achieving rapid aerobic stability is that it increases the flexibility of clamp opening.

 

“Increasingly farmers are asking how soon after ensiling they can safely open clamps, particularly clamps of maize and wholecrop. If clamps are opened before the crop is stable, the extent of heating and scale of waste can be phenomenal.

 

“In numerous trials with wholecrop, maize and grass, clamps treated with the new combination could be safely opened just 15 days after ensiling with greater aerobic stability and reduced waste.”

 

The new patented combination of L. buchneri and L. hilgardii is being launched as the Magniva Platinum range and includes inoculants for grass, maize and wholecrop.


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Early analysis of first cut

 

EARLY analysis of 2019 first cut by ForFarmers suggests many farms have dry silage, averaging 34.5 per cent dry matter (DM), with a pH of 4.5 and low lactic acid levels, which may lead to some sorting by the cows at the feed barrier, if not managed correctly.

 

Bruce Forshaw, ForFarmers technical manager, says: “Energy is a little higher than last year and fibre content is lower, meaning silage could be good for milk production.

 

Protein

 

“Protein levels are also quite good, with crude protein at 15.2 per cent and high true digestible protein at 71g/kg DM,meaning savings can be made on bought-in protein.

 

“However, the high DM, high sugar and low lactic acid mean good clamp management will be essential to avoid aerobic spoilage when the clamp is opened.”

WASTE IN SILAGE CLAMPS

 

REDUCING waste and heat in silage clamps remains a major issue, with an estimated 15 per cent of all clamps of conserved forage being wasted rather than fed, adding to costs. However, the true impact of heating could be far higher due to the impact on feed value and palatability.

 

Mr Eastlake says: “Heat is wasted energy. If your clamp is heating up, you are literally burning up the potential feed value, leaving less energy to feed while what is left over is less palatable.”

 

Heating in silage is a direct consequence of the actions of yeasts and moulds which are present on all silage but remain largely inactive until they are exposed to oxygen. In aerobic conditions, they use the sugars and lactic acid in the silage as a fuel source. In doing this, they produce heat.

 

“This heat loss reduces the energy content immediately. Then, as the temperature of the silage increases, the digestibility declines too. At high temperatures, palatability of the feed can also be compromised leading to increased feed rejections, contamination of the total mixed ration and reduced yields.”

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