Maize silage – protect the investment

With a high dry matter and starch content, maize silage is prone to aerobic spoilage and the financial value of the resultant losses can be quite considerable. This is something which livestock producers, who are looking to make the most out of home-grown forage, will want to avoid – especially as commodity prices are becoming more volatile.

Although additives are deemed to be an additional expense come harvest, applying the correct inoculant could make a considerable difference to reducing silage losses.

Maize Aerobic Stability

The preservation of maize silage is similar to that of grass, consisting of a fermentation to produce lactic acid, resulting in a reduction in pH which preserves the crop and prevents the growth of spoilage organisms. Maize has a high target dry matter (DM) of 32% which together with a high starch content generally ensures a rapid fermentation, removing the need for a Lactobacillus plantarum inoculant to aid fermentation. However, the high DM and high starch puts maize silage at risk from aerobic spoilage, so the use of an additive to prevent the growth and colonisation of yeasts and moulds during ensiling and feed-out is essential. For example, Wynnstay Corn containing Alliin and Lactobacillus brevis has been proven to reduce the growth of these yeasts and moulds and so increases the aerobic stability of maize silage reducing the risk of heating at the clamp face.

Using an appropriate additive, such as Wynnstay Corn or DA Ecocorn, can help to avoid the losses which occur during both fermentation and aerobic spoilage, including DM losses, reduced ME content and decreased palatability. At approximately £1.20-£1.50 per tonne treated, the cost of an additive is more than outweighed by the value of the silage saved by reducing losses caused by spoilage organisms. In order to maximise this return on investment, it is essential that you are using the right additive for your silage – when it comes to this, there is no one size fits all product. Therefore, I would suggest speaking to your Wynnstay specialist for more advice on additive product choice as we enter into maize harvest season.

Click here to view the maize silage additive range.

Alternatively, speak to your local specialist or call the Arable Department on 01939 210555 for more information.

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