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The silaging process is of immense significance!

Especially in dairy cattle feeding and cattle farming maize silage is an important feedstuff: It is cost-effective to produce, delivers high energy levels and is excellent for storage, to ensure year-round supply.

Silage preparation seeks to achieve the following:

1. Contain nutritional values

  • The nutritional value of the silaged food remains intact.
  • Lactic acid bacteria transform plant-based carbohydrates into organic acids.
  • The resulting acids result in the dropping pH-value.
    Depending on the dry mass of the maize silage, this should be as follows:
    Fresh maize: pH 6.5 - 7
    <30 % TM: pH <= 4.0
    >30 % TM: pH <= 4.5
  • The low pH-value preserves the silo and makes the silage storable for a long time.

2. Identifying losses

  • Optimal silage processes are seen to be those with loses of 5 to max. 10%, depending on the fermentation acid progression of the silaging.
  • The pure lactic acid fermentation is lossless. For acetic fermentation, DM losses of approx. 5% result.

3. Avoiding losses

  • The acetic acid fermentation should despite higher silaging losses always be involved to a certain extent, as acetic acid promotes aerobic stability and therefore prevents higher losses in the silo extraction.
  • All process-dependent and avoidable losses during the harvest and removal must be avoided.

Energy losses in silaging

Resulting energy losses in the silaging process are distinguished by being "unavoidable", "procedure-dependent" and "avoidable". The following table shows the loss of net energy during silaging:

Loss cause Assessment Energy losses (%)
Residual breathing unavoidable 1 - 2
Fermentation unavoidable 4 - 10
Silage effluent depending on process 0 - 8
Field losses depending on process 1 - 5
Faulty fermentation avoidable 0 - 10
Aerobic spoilage (in silo) avoidable 0 - 10
Reheating (at removal) avoidable 0 - 10

Source: KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA

Optimal fermentation process of lactic acid fermentation

Source: KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA

Source: KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA