The two main aims of producing good quality silage and storing crops include maintaining the crop’s nutritional quality as to that of the originally harvested crop, and to avoid losses during silage production.
Therefore, minimising the loss of dry matter and nutrients, and ensuring proper fermentation and preservation are key factors in silage production.
The ultimate success of this process depends on several factors, such as, what decisions are made during cutting, harvesting, and ensiling the crop.
Dr. T.B. Barragry, Provita Animal Health’s veterinary advisor, discusses the most effective way to produce high quality silage this silage season.
The fermentation process
Silage is produced as the result of a chemical process and the correct form of chemical fermentation which are key factors in the preservation of silage. This process ultimately converts fresh, harvested grass into high-quality grass silage.
Critical factors to consider when producing good quality silage include the type of bacterial fermentation present, a rapid drop in pH and the production of lactic acid.
Successful silage production is based on the good and proper fermentation of grass by anaerobic (no oxygen) microorganisms, and the prevention of the growth and establishment of harmful oxygen-dependant microorganisms (aerobic).
The key to producing high-quality grass-silage is to dry the crop to an appropriate dry matter level for ensiling as quickly as possible.
High sugar content and high dry matter levels in the original herbage favour a rapid fermentation process, resulting in the development of good quality silage.
Grass can begin to lose glucose and carbohydrate content soon after being cut. However, these sugars are the most important substrates for the good fermentative bacteria.
During the fermentation process, glucose and other sugars are converted into acid – predominantly lactic acid – by specialised bacteria, and this low pH acts as a preservative.
To produce good silage, an anaerobic environment must be established to allow lactic acid bacteria to grow and multiply. This environment will cause the rapid production of lactic acid resulting in a low pH environment.
This acidic environment will preserve the nutritional quality of the silage while inhibiting the growth of undesirable aerobic microorganisms, resulting in good fermentation and optimal quality silage.
The proper use of a research-proven, acid-producing forage inoculant is crucial in producing high-quality silage.
Lower levels of acetic acid production are also desirable during silage fermentation.
Acetic acid is produced by Heterofermentative bacteria such as Lactobacillus Buchneri and Propionibacterium Acidipropionici, which are effective yeast and mould inhibitors.
With regards to acetic acid, Homofermentative lactic acid bacteria is highly effective in this yeast and mould-inhibited environment.
Homofermentative lactic acid bacteria converts soluble sugars in the forage into lactic acid.
Homofermentative lactic acid bacteria accelerates the initial fermentation process, which helps in quickly creating a low pH environment.
Examples include: Lactobacillus plantarum; Pediococcus acidilactici, Enterococcus faecium and Lactobacillus salivarius.
Advance+ silage inoculant
A number of commercial silage inoculants that are currently being sold are preservatives containing one, two or three strains of lactobacilli and other acid-producing microorganisms.
Many of these inoculants also contain added enzymes, anti-oxidants and prebiotics.
Advance+ Silage Inoculant from Provita Animal Health is a potent triple-strain inoculant added at very high inclusion rates in the silage which provides a wide range of acidification and other potentiating benefits.
The Advance+ silage inoculant contains three unique lactic-acid producing bacteria strains – Lactobacillus plantarum, Enterococcus faecium and Pediococcus pentosaceous – with enzymes and sugars added as prebiotics.
The major striking characteristic of L. plantarum and other lactic acid bacteria is, not only their ability to produce lactic and acetic acid, but the inclusion of enterococci results in the secretion of antimicrobial substances called bacteriocins.
Many enterococci produce at least one bacteriocin – which is a ribosomally synthesized antimicrobial peptide – active against a wide range of gram-positive spoiler organisms and foodborne pathogens such as Listeria.
Evidence suggests that bacteriocins or bacteriocin-like substances produced by P.pentosaceous play effective antibacterial roles in the microbial ecosystem, inhibiting undesirable spoilage microorganisms (e.g., Clostridia, Bacillus, fungi), and preventing heating of the silage.
This unique triple-strain inoculant will produce a drier, sweeter-smelling silage with high sugar and a high dry matter content.
The Advance+ silage inoculant from Provita Animal Heath will:
- Rapidly lower the silage pH;
- Produce lactic acid and acetic acids;
- Produce bacteriocins;
- Kill other contaminating organisms;
- Ensure excellent silage quality;
- Contains proven organisms in silage trials;
- EU approved and accepted.
Advance+ is a combination of lactic and acetic acid bacteria strains present at a guaranteed high rate of inclusion at 1.2 million organisms per gram of forage.
This high level of inoculant results in the sufficient number of bacteria present to have the ability to accelerate the fermentation process and guarantee low moisture, high sugar content, high protein content, and higher dry matter levels.
Advance+ has been subjected to numerous detailed nutrient-quality trials in research institutes and has been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Results in these trials have shown: More rapid fermentation rates; quicker and lower acidic pH levels; better preservation; higher sugar, protein, and dry matter content; and cost effectiveness.
Provita’s Advance+ provides such dependable results from the unique EFSA-approved triple-strain combination.
All strains of bacteria present in Advance+ are registered with the EFSA which require extensive documents that cover quality, safety, and proof of efficacy of products.
Advance+ has proven results in numerous field trials and with research institutes including the Agri-Food and Bioscience Institute (AFBI).
Being a multi-strain product increases its reliability across a wider range of conditions which is useful for unpredictable weather conditions and varying herbage types and qualities.
Silage inoculant research trials
Silage making is a chemical process and must be regarded as such.
Using evidence-based and scientifically proven silage inoculants containing triple-strains of lactic acid bacteria is a good investment and is highly cost effective.
Summary of 11 fermentation trials with Advance+ submitted to EU:
Performance benefits – Dairy, Store Beef and Finishing Beef:
For more information, click here.