This silage season, farms should be looking to capitalise on every cut of grass, to produce the best quality and value forage for their farm. 

With every tonne (t) of silage important, farms should aim to minimise dry matter (DM) losses from forage at ensiling.  Research has shown that dry matter losses are costing Irish farmers on average €28t/DM.

Simple changes in silage making practices could be introduced to help, like ensuring a rapid wilt to a target of 30% DM as quickly as possible – to make sure grass is dry enough for the clamp or bale, while avoiding losses of essential nutrients.

Also using a silage additive like Advance+ will drive a faster fermentation once ensiled, thus reducing DM losses during this process, improving protein and sugar levels, and intake potential.

Advance+ consistently improves silage quality when forage analyses are taken. Based on data from a bank of over 200 samples from 2018, Advance+ showed the following benefits:

  1. Reduction of 3.5% DM losses i.e. extra 35t/DM in a 1000t clamp;
  2. Extra 0.52 MJ/kg of Metabolisable Energy (ME) which can provide extra 1.5L of milk from forage;
  3. Extra 46% sugar content as Advance+ bugs are more efficient during fermentation.

If you are thinking to yourself now, that you want to reduce DM losses during ensilage – and you want more nutrients in your silage – then you need to be using a silage additive like Advance+ on every cut and forage type.

Provita Advance+

Provita Advance+ provides such dependable results because of the unique EU-approved triple strain combination. All strains of bacteria in Advance+ are registered with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) which requires extensive dossiers covering quality, safety and efficacy.

Being a multi-strain product increases the reliability over a wider range of conditions, which is very useful for unpredictable weather conditions.  Applied at the recommended rate, Advance+ is guaranteed to supply 1.2 million bacteria per gram of forage.

This high level of inoculant means sufficient numbers of bacteria are present to kick start and accelerate the fermentation process – to lock in that goodness in the silage as demonstrated above.

There is lot of research to show that for green crops in Ireland, a minimum of one million bacteria per gram of forage needs to be applied, as additives containing less will not be cost effective and will not control the preservation you require.

Silage face, heating and moulding

Using Advance+ will improve face stability and prevent heating, because of the inclusion of acetic acid forming bacteria in the mixture. Although, it is more of an insurance policy to help some inaccuracies in the ensiling process.

You will want to avoid over-wilting as spoilage organisms will build-up on the crop the longer it is left, and adequate rolling at filling time will help consolidation. 

Advance+ is very effective at reducing spoilage, moulding and heating issues at silage face, provided normal silage management is good.

Silages treated with Advance+ consistently shows more true protein, more energy and higher digestibility – resulting in improved animal performance. 

So, not using a silage additive is not saving money; it is costing money because the losses are greater, animals will underperform and require more concentrates to make up the difference. 

We all need to remember that the cost between making good quality and poorer-quality silage is not that different with similar fertiliser, contracting and cover costs.  In actual fact, the real cost will come when it comes to feeding out that silage when lower daily liveweight gains or milk yields is achieved from forage, and more concentrates need to be fed.

Typically, using Advance+ will yield a return on investment of 6:1 even in good weather conditions.  Advance+ will have a cost equivalent to 4-5c/cow/day and calculated milk yield response can be 1.5L/cow/day. Thus, for no more than 5c, you are likely to get back at least 30c on every cow, every day.  I think you can agree this is a sound investment.

What people are saying

Advance+ has been widely used throughout UK and Ireland, plus further afield export markets, with excellent forage results consistently seen. 

Don’t just take our word for it – here is some feedback from Advance+ users:

“Tremendous results with Advance+: really sweetens our silage and makes good silage even better.”

“Annual forage analysis confirms every time the benefit of applying Advance+ to forage – results are always superior to untreated samples adding extra value to the silage, which results in a genuine return on investment for the farm.”

“I am happy to attribute my commitment to using Provita’s Advance+ inoculant as a significant factor in allowing me to make high quality silage.  We have been using the product for the past 20 years – it gets the pH within the clamp down very quickly. But it’s at feeding out that I see the real benefit of the product.”

“We never get secondary fermentation on the face of the silage clamp. Our first cut silo is very wide. But even with this we never see any deterioration in the quality of the silage that is going into the feeder wagon. Another key benefit is the zero losses of forage at the surface and shoulders of the clamp. Again, I put this down to the effect of the inoculant.”

Plan now to maximise your 2021 forage quality with Provita’s Advance+.

More information

Contact Provita for your local stockist and to hear about ADVANCE+ special offers, by clicking here.

References are available on request. This piece was written by George Shaw, MPharm MPSNI, technical adviser; [email protected], 078 4192 6219.