What are the characteristics of good and bad quality silage?

Evaluating Silage Quality
Visual and pH Evaluations of Silage
CharacteristicGood qualityPoor quality
ColorBright, light green-yellow or green brown depending upon material ensiledBrown to black
SmellLactic acid3 odor with no butyric4 acid odor4Burnt sugar or tobacco smell
5 sept 2008

What is the quality of silage?

Silage has more nutrients preserved per acre because there is less field loss. Silage is also less affected by weather damage because the forage does not lie in the field drying. The ensiling process has become more mechanized and is therefore less labor intensive than haymaking.

What is the key measure of silage quality?

The main components measured in the analyses include: Dry matter (DM %) – This is the amount of silage material after water has been removed. Generally the higher the dry matter the higher the potential intake of silage. However silages that are too dry can give rise to moulds and heating.

What are the 2 biggest factors affecting silage quality?

Summary of Biological Processes

All four processes may affect silage feed quality, but the principal factors reducing quality are plant proteolytic enzymes, clostridia, and aerobic microorganisms.

Why is silage quality important?

Silage sampling gives the farmer an early indication of feed quality which is used to formulate the animals overall diet. The higher the dry matter the more energy and protein the animal will receive for every kg of fresh silage eaten.

What is a good silage analysis?

A pH of 3.8 to 4.2 will show silage that is well preserved and will keep well. Wet silage with a high pH will not keep well and is usually accompanied by high ammonia levels. pH values of 3.6 and below are considered to be acidic silage’s and will require careful supplementation to avoid stomach upsets.

What is good protein in silage?

Untreated corn silage has from 7 to 8% protein on a dry matter basis, and the protein requirements of beef cattle and sheep range from 10 to 14%, depending on the stage of production and desired rate of gain. High production dairy cows have even higher requirements.

What is silage made up of?

Silage is essentially “pickled pasture,” or fodder that’s been fermented to feed cattle or sheep during dry seasons. Grasses or other crops, such as rye or maize, are cut, fermented and compressed until they’re ready to be fed to the livestock.

What should silage smell like?

Silage that ferments normally may smell slightly sweet, but typically has very little odor since the most prevalent volatile fatty acid is lactate, which is nearly odorless.

What are the types of silage?

Low-Energy Silage Crops
  • Perennial grasses. Bermudagrass and stargrass. Limpograss (Hemarthria) Other improved perennial grasses.
  • Other annual grasses. Sudangrass and sorghum x sudangrass hybrids. Pearl millet. Small grains and ryegrass.
  • Legumes. Alfalfa. Red clover and other cool-season legumes. Sunn hemp.

What is the principle of silage making?

Silage is produced by harvesting a forage crop at a high moisture content (greater than 50 percent) and subsequently fermenting that crop in pit, tower, bunker, trench or plastic silos. Ideally, this process should occur in the total absence of oxygen.

What happens if silage is watery?

Remember that if the silage is too wet there is a risk of butyric acid forming and nutrients being lost due to seepage. Silage that is over 70% moisture should not be harvested and should stand in the field for a few more days.

Why is my silage black?

Brown to black silage usually indicates heating from fermentation and moisture damage.

What are the disadvantages of silage?

It requires a silo (a permanent structure) in comparison with the simpler methods of field curing and storing hay, this is likely to mean higher costs for small farmers. Wastage my be more, if silage is not properly made. Poorly prepared silages are not accepted by animals.

What Colour is good silage?

In general, the colour of silage can vary depending on the material ensiled. For grass, cereal and corn silage, the colour ranges from light green to light brown or golden brown. Dark brown or black areas usually indicate that heating has occurred.

What kills the bacteria in silage?

A rapid drop in pH has been shown to eliminate E. coli in silage (Bach et al., 2002; Byrne et al., 2002).

What happens if silage is too dry?

Fires are caused when silage is chopped too dry. The silage doesn’t pack well, trapping oxygen which allows aerobic metabolism which produces a lot of heat. Wet hay is also a major risk factor for fire for the same reason, the wet hay allows aerobic metabolism (molds and yeast) which produce heat.

Why is silage good for cows?

Nutritionally, silages represent an excellent energy source in cow-calf rations by providing digestible fiber. They can be used to meet the energy requirements of cows to maintain BCS and weight and fit particularly well in rations fed post-calving with other forages.

How long can you store silage?

Personally, I have seen silage keep well for three years if it’s maintained in excellent condition. With an extended ensiling period, you’ll want to have all the components of quality silage management in place. This means correctly harvesting, filling, packing and storing the forage.