Producers needs to be able to see a return on their investment in using a silage additive – and understand the costs and benefits.
According to ForFarmers’ Robert Goodhead, a key advantage of using an additive for maize silage is reduced heating and waste after opening, also known as aerobic stability.
“Untreated silages lose between 6% and 12% of energy after clamp opening and higher dry matter silages, such as forage maize, lose the most,” he says. “But treating with an inoculant can reduce losses by up to 50%.
“Dry matter losses can also occur during fermentation, with untreated silages losing between 6% and 10% DM. But the level of loss depends on the crop and its dry matter percentage, because losses are the result of either effluent run-off in wetter silages or inefficient fermentation in dryer silages. Again, inoculant treatment can reduce losses by up to 50%.
“So choose a maize additive that can offer both better fermentation and improved aerobic stability,” he says. “Using an additive can improve milk yield by between 0.8 and 1.5 litres per cow per day, or increase live weight gain in beef cattle by between 7% and 15%.”
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Taking first, and any subsequent, silage cuts earlier in the season has improved silage quality and herd performance on one Dorset-based dairy unit.