With the high cost of feed, managing your silage quality has never been more important. Along with good bunker management, inoculants can help preserve valuable nutrients.
Inoculants keep as many nutrients in the bunker or bale as possible. If forage crops are harvested that have the appropriate moisture content and are packed and covered well, using the right inoculant will make a good silage store even better.
Inoculation is important to preserving quality
- Improved fermentation
The basic function of an inoculant is to provide a fast, more efficient fermentation of silage. Fast fermentation preserves silage. An inoculant helps livestock operators maintain a high level of quality.
Research shows crops have specific moulds and bacteria, causing them to ferment differently. Pioneer has a diverse line up of crop-specific inoculants to help with dry matter preservation. Each Pioneer® brand inoculant contains unique bacterial strains, just as each corn hybrid contains unique genetics. This helps prevent spoilage based on the crop’s unique fermentation process. Having crop-specific products makes a difference in performance whether it’s corn, lucerne or pasture silage.
This enables as much nutritional benefit to be gained from the silage as possible. Sugars, organic acids, and maybe even some starch is lost from the moment forage is cut, and so if that is saved through using high-performing inoculant, the preserved silage will be loaded with high-energy nutrients.
- Greater aerobic stability
Some Pioneer inoculants also offer aerobic stability. Packing removes oxygen, which is the fuel moulds and bacteria use to grow and consume silage nutrients. At feedout, the face of the silage bunker is again exposed to oxygen. This starts the fermentation process all over. Certain Pioneer inoculants contain Lactobacillus Buchneri, a bacterium that keeps the silo face cool, slowing secondary fermentation.
Keeping silage stable in the bunk and maintaining aerobic stability on the back end can add up to improved palatability and feed consumption.
The latest generation of Pioneer inoculants produce an enzyme that helps break down fibre in the silage, making it more digestible. The enzyme breaks down the lignin in the stalk, helping cows digest and use more of the available nutrients.
By getting more from your silage, you can rely less on supplemental feed, resulting in cost savings.
- Nutritional gains
Inoculants also help limit the loss of important nutrients from the diet. By preserving these high-energy nutrients when ensiling, you can increase the bite-for-bite value of your ensiled forage.