Ask the Quality Silage Experts: Packing Dry Forage
Q. I’m worried the corn I’ve chopped for silage is too dry. What should I do?
A. Harvesting within the ideal moisture content just isn’t always possible. When forced to harvest on the drier side, the resulting silage is at a higher risk for heating and mold growth. This can lower its nutrient content and digestibility. These risks occur because packing dry forage is difficult, and thus, there’s a greater chance oxygen will remain inside the pile or bunker — and oxygen is the enemy of high-quality silage.
To minimize oxygen in the silage, pay attention to the recommended practices while packing: spread the forage in thin layers and pack thin layers of 6 inches or less; spend enough time packing, and add extra packing weight to the tractors. Chopping the corn finer is an option but pay attention to not negatively impact the effective fiber.
To reduce the risk of aerobic stability during feedout, use a proven silage inoculant containing Lactobacillus buchneri NCIMB 40788 that reduces the growth of yeasts, the initiators of spoilage. In fact, L. buchneri NCIMB 40788 applied at 400,000 CFU per gram of silage or 600,000 CFU per gram of high-moisture corn (HMC) has been uniquely reviewed by the FDA and allowed to claim improved aerobic stability.
For more information about forage inoculants, visit www.qualitysilage.com.