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Do I need a maize additive?

While its energy, starch levels, intake characteristics and dry matter potential yield all make maize a good feed choice for dairy cows, it is one of the riskier forages to preserve. 

Just one error in clamp management can significantly reduce maize silage quality and/or the volume of dry matter in the clamp. Air ingress, yeasts and moulds can rapidly grow in clamps, resulting in excessive heating and aerobic spoilage

The optimum dry matter for harvesting maize is between 28% and 35%, and chop length should be between 1.5cm and 2cm to aid clamp consolidation. This will also help to improve fermentation and reduce heating when maize silage is fed out.

To maximise maize silage quality, clamps should be filled quickly and thoroughly consolidated. Producers should fill the clamp in thin layers, which can be compressed effectively, with each layer no more that 15cm deep. 

Do I need a maize additive

Fermentation benefits of using an additive

Maize silage can be prone to losses from inefficient fermentation and, while these losses are often ‘invisible’, they can represent as much as 8% of maize harvested at the recommended dry matter content. By using an additives helps to produce faster, more efficient fermentation:

  • Preserves more nitrogen as true protein
  • Reduces fermentation DM losses 
  • Minimises undesirable microbial activity 
  • Digestibility and starch content improves with time in the clamp
  • Improved animal performance 

Benefits of using an additive to inhibit yeasts & moulds

  • Less heating
  • Lower DM losses 
  • Less physical waste
  • Higher energy feed
  • Less risk of mycotoxins

Maize silage should, ideally, be left for at least a month before feeding to allow pH and feed quality to stabilise. However, if required, it can be fed immediately and there are additive options to use in these situations. 

Clamp management

ForFarmers maize additive options

Sil – All Maize 3 x bacterial strains and an enzyme complex. Improved aerobic stability and reduced DM losses. Heterofermentation plus cell wall breakdown.
Ecocool Lactobacillus plantarum for fast efficient fermentation and lactobacillus buchneri for reduced heating and spoilage at feedout.
Ecocorn Lactobacillus plantarum for fast efficient fermentation and potassium sorbate, effective inhibitor of yeasts and moulds that cause aerobic spoilage.
Pioneer 11A44 Reduces aerobic heating. Suitable for high DM crops. Good for silages with lack of compaction and long chop length.
Pioneer 11C33 rapid react Reduces aerobic heating and fermentation losses. Contains Lactobacillus plantarum, and lactobacillus buchneri. Fast fermentation for improve palatability. Can be fed 7 days after ensiling.
Pioneer 11CFT Increases fibre digestibility. Reduces fermentation losses and aerobic heating. Contains lactobacillus plantarum to releases enzymes to break down cellulose and lignin.
Advance Maize Reduces fermentation losses and aerobic heating. Contains Lactobacillus plantarum, Pediococcus and Lactobacillus brevis plus enzymes.


Special offer

Afbeelding: Maize additive shaker bottle

Losses are avoidable if maize is stored and clamped correctly and managed to prevent aerobic spoilage. Using an inoculant helps to encourage fermentation and will significantly reduce DM losses.

Place a new additive order and receive a FREE additive shaker bottle.

To register for a free additive shaker bottle please follow the link:

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For more information

For further information on maximising the quality of your maize, our range of additives or for forage advice please contact your local ForFarmers Forage Specialist or send us an online enquiry:

Contact a Forage Specialist