Poor-quality silage can turn out to be the most expensive feed on your farm

On a daily basis farmers strive to meet environmental challenges and consumer demands. One area which needs improvement, particularly on dairy farms, is feed efficiency.

Dairy farmers are producing high-quality fresh grass, but when it comes to preserved forage the quality deteriorates and, as a result, profitability decreases.

Steps to improving silage quality

Having the correct balance of minerals in your soil is the first step. Commonly, soil test results fall down on calcium (Ca) and sulphur (S), both of which are essential for plant health and building plant proteins.

Ensuring a balanced soil analysis can also result in more efficient nitrogen (N) use and allow for lower application rates.

Having a good re-seeding programme in place is the next step to ensure high-quality grass.

It is also important to consider slurry spreading times carefully to ensure no residues make it into your silage pit. Low level applications applied more often may work better.

Where slurry residues have been left behind, silage tests commonly show high levels of ammonia, ash, clostridia, iron and butyric acid. This results in a decrease in silage quality.

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The Ensiling Process

The last part of the puzzle in producing high-quality silage is the ensiling process. If silage isn’t ensiled properly the farm will be making up the difference for the entire season.

It is essential to cut your silage when it is ready and not by the calendar. High applications of N will require a longer gap between application and cutting.

Using the Silo-King® additive can aid the process along. The enzymes and anti-oxidants contained in Silo-King® can improve silage quality and increase the energy availability for animals.

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A Silo-King applicator can be seen on this baler

Don’t buy your milk or live weight in; grow it yourself

Keeping high-quality grass in the pit and increasing your profitability can be done by stabilising the fermentation temperature at and after ensiling. Flash fermentation is of the utmost importance.

For example, for every 1° increase in heat during fermentation silage loses 12 calories per kg per day.

Silo-King®, a silage additive, provides enzymes including cellulases, amylases, xylanases and pectinases which start to pre-digest fibres and starches in forages. This in turn makes them more digestible.

Silo-King® has been shown to reduce the temperature during fermentation by 10° when silage is treated with the product.

Saving on concentrates

This means that 30,000 calories per tonne are saved and so the farmer can save on the 15kg of grain needed to replace these calories.

10° X 12 calories X 250kg of dry matter = 30,000 calories/t.

To put this into context, it takes 680 calories to produce 1kg of milk. This means that 44kg of milk can be produced from the 30,000 calorie saving.

A special pre-booking offer is available on Silo-King® until March 31. Farmers can contact one of the area managers detailed at the bottom of the article.

What is Silo-King?

Silo-King® is an additive which can be used to treat grass silage, maize silage, wholecrop, crimped grains, legumes and ensiled fodder beet and wet grains.

Silo-King® is the only additive which contains enzymes registered by the EU Food Safety Authority. Silo-King’s® ingredients can be seen below.

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The multi-purpose treatment provides rapid and efficient stabilisation during the ensiling process.

The ultimate goal of treating forages with Silo-King® is a rapid and efficient stabilisation of the silage mass during the ensiling process, resulting in more retained feed and nutrients for milk and beef production.

Silo-King® has been improved over the past 50 years and is constantly under review to ensure the best results.

Using Silo-King® speeds up fermentation by helping to drop the pH quickly. This can result in:
  • Less dry matter loss;
  • Softer feed;
  • Increased calories;
  • Increased digestibility;
  • Enhanced palatability;
  • Provides more energy;
  • Produces more milk.

Test your silage

It is essential to test silage. Agri-King area managers can take a silage sample and, once results return, farmers, together with Agri-King’s advisers, will analyse these results and provide farmers with a feed plan for the season ahead – which can be used to increase the profitability of their farm.

Agri-King’s Analab is the only lab in the world maintaining live artificial rumens used in digestibility studies and has been doing so for 27 years.

The lab provides general sample analysis and specialised lab services such as fibre and water analysis, lignin, starch, nitrates, amino acid, protein and mycotoxin tests, as well as complete TMR analysis, fermentation analysis, water analysis and elemental analysis via X-ray.

The video below shows Agri-King’s labs in the US.

The lab can also carry out a live artificial rumen test and a test for NDFd-30.

If you would like more details on Silo-King® or Agri-King’s products and services, just click here

Find your local Agri-King area manager in the list below:

Additional information is available on the Agri-King website, or by contacting the office in the Republic of Ireland on: 01-6575628; or the UK on: 01243-558884.

You can also e-mail: [email protected]; or, alternatively: [email protected].

In addition, you can also visit the Agri-King website at: www.agriking.com.