Additives are key to silage success

Maize silage is a good feed option for dairy herds due to its high starch and energy content, as well as its intake characteristics and dry matter yield potential. However, it is one of the riskiest forages to produce in terms of ensiling.

Just one error in management can significantly reduce maize silage’s feed quality or dry-matter volume in the clamp. Aerobic spoilage (heating) and challenges regarding the fermentation process are some of the biggest risks that producers face when ensiling maize.

Maize additives - ForFarmers UK

Reduce heating by filling the clamp correctly

Filling the clamp quickly after harvest and consolidating the maize crop effectively are vital when looking to maximise silage quality. Clamps must be filled in thin layers, at a maximum depth of 15cm, to aid consolidation. And it’s important to remember that maize silage heats up more quickly when it is less well compacted.

The benefits of faster and more efficient fermentation

Inefficient fermentation can account for losses of up to 8% in maize harvested at the recommended dry matter content. So there are benefits to using an additive to produce a faster, more efficient initial fermentation. These include improved use of available sugars, preservation of more nitrogen as true protein, reduced dry-matter losses and undesirable microbial activity, as well as improved cow performance.

The benefits of using an additive to inhibit the activities of the yeasts and moulds in the clamp include less heating, lower dry-matter losses, less silage waste, higher-energy feed, and a reduced mycotoxin risk.