Q.        How can I reduce my silage costs?

A.         To keep silage costs in check, it is important to target making high-quality silage, which, in turn, will mean minimizing losses

Major sources of losses occur during the initial ensiling fermentation and due to exposure to oxygen at opening. Fermentation dry matter (DM) losses should ideally be less than 10 percent — yet it is common to see losses of 25 percent or more. And remember, the silage lost is actually the most highly digestible nutrients (such as starch, protein and sugars).

Focusing on producing high quality silages will help reduce your losses and feed expenses overall. There is no silver bullet for achieving high quality silage, it is all about practicing good management skills. Harvest crops at the recommended stage of maturity and moisture level for each feedstuff; make sure the chop length is right and that the crop is processed (if necessary); treat forages with research-proven inoculants targeted to help you achieve your objectives; pack well to exclude air; cover immediately; seal well and repair any damage to the cover during storage. At feedout, use good face management. Feed out fast enough to prevent heating and remove only the amount of silage needed for feeding (do not pile removed silage). Properly balance the ration around the silage.

In particular, an inoculant containing Lactobacillus buchneri 40788 at an effective dose can help address stability challenges. High dose rate L. buchneri 40788 has been reviewed by the FDA and allowed to claim efficacy in preventing the growth of yeasts and molds in silages and HMC.

I hope this information helps you reduce your silage costs.

Sincerely,

The Silage Dr.

Question about silage management? Ask the Silage Dr. on Twitter, Facebook or visit www.qualitysilage.com.