Five reasons to preserve corn silage with a proven inoculant
26 August 2021
If you are serious about making more milk from forage, do you really want some of the hard work and expense you’ve put into growing a nutritious corn silage crop go to waste? Because it easily can once in storage. And once losses occur, that feed is gone!
1. Because corn can be a breeding ground for ‘bad bugs’
Dying or dead tissue on corn plants at harvest provides a haven for undesirable micro-organisms. As too does dirt and decomposing crop debris that accumulate in the plant’s leaf joints, while the stem base can be a ‘hot spot’ for mold spores.
These are in addition to other corn diseases – such as eyespot and smut. And all these ‘bad bugs’ end up in storage, where some of them can play havoc with how well the crop is preserved.
2. Because lost dry matter doesn’t just affect silage quantity – but quality too
Unfortunately, ‘bad bugs’ growing in the silage don’t just ‘feed on’ the lesser nutritious bits of the silage, such as the fiber. They take the best bits. So, by allowing them to take hold, it’s not just dry matter (DM) that’s lost, but the more nutritious parts of the dry matter – the sugars and starches.
Worse still, fungal contamination can also make corn silage less palatable so cows reject it, and can potentially cause problems with mycotoxins.
3. Because corn can suffer invisible losses – not just obvious losses from visible yeasts and molds
Most of us are familiar with losses from yeasts and molds growing in the silage in the presence of air, resulting in heating. But this is only part of the story. Poor fermentation caused by the wrong types of bacteria in the silage can also cause similar losses in dry matter. But these are invisible.
Between these two processes, typical corn silage dry matter losses can be around 15%. But they can be much higher – at 20 or even 30%.
4. To improve sustainability
Home-grown forage and silage are excellent sustainable feed sources.
By doing the best job of preserving corn silage, not only do you have potentially more silage available to feed but also potentially of better quality. This, in turn, means less reliance on purchased feeds, allowing financial savings, and can even reduce feed miles.
We can’t prevent all ‘bad bugs’ growing on corn crops, but you can take better control of them at ensiling – using the beneficial bacteria in a proven inoculant to produce storage conditions that stop them in their tracks.
5. Because a Volac dual-acting inoculant is backed-up by science. Find out which one is right for you…
The dual-acting inoculant, Ecocool, is designed to improve fermentation and has been shown to reduce yeast and mold growth from the top to the bottom of the feed pile.
Both of the main Volac additives recommended for corn – Ecocool and Ecocool Grain – include the same beneficial bacterial strain (MTD/1) found in Ecosyl. So you know they are backed-up by science. As well they have received EFSA approval.
Ecocool is the one we recommend for corn silage. Research has shown that treating with Ecocool cut yeast numbers and slashed total fresh weight corn silage losses (from poor fermentation and aerobic spoilage) by around a third. Better still, Ecocool has kept silage removed from storage cool and stable for more than 10 days.
Want to find out more about Ecocool?
Download our Ecocool Product Brochure for more information.