Home' NZ Dairy Farmer : February 2010 Contents The Dairyman FEBRUARY 2010 51
LAST month's article covered the ideal
features and benefits of using inoculants
when ensiling grass, clover and lucerne
crops. The focus this month is on inoculants
for ensiling maize and cereal crops.
The objective with the more difficult to
ensile crops such as grass, clover and lucerne
is to preserve as much of the harvested crop
as quickly and as well as possible. this
remains a primary objective when ensiling
maize or cereals, however there is another
key objective: namely aerobic stability at the
face and during feeding out. This needs con-
sideration, in particular if good stack face
management is difficult to achieve.
The same principles apply for all silages
regarding good silage making techniques,
such as rapid filling of pits, forage laid down
in thin layers, effective compaction and seal-
ing, and good management after opening and
during feeding out. The difference lies in the
type of inoculants that deliver the best stabil-
ity once pits have been opened. Maize and
whole crop cereal silages tend to be less
stable than grass, clover or lucerne silages at
feed out as they contain large amounts of
starch which provides a useful energy source
for yeasts and moulds, responsible for heat-
ing and spoilage.
Although silages made with homofermen-
tative lactic bacteria are often more stable
than untreated silages, surface heating can
still be an issue in some instances. Mould
inhibitors have generally been used to
restrict mould and yeast growth with varying
success, initiating searches for alternative
strategies. This has resulted in the develop-
ment of inoculants containing Lactobacillus
buchneri, which are heterofermentative bac-
teria that produce both lactic and acetic
acids, the latter which inhibits the growth
and multiplication of specific species of
yeasts that are responsible for silage heating.
L buchneri treated silages tend to have
slightly higher pH's than those made using
homofermentative lactic acid bacteria, as
acetic is a slightly weaker acid than lactic.
The slower fall in pH means silage stacks
require longer to stabilise before feeding out
than those made with homofermentative bac-
teria. Palatability may also be slightly inferi-
or and dry matter losses slightly higher as
well. The best responses to L buchneri inoc-
ulants are where silage heating and spoilage
have generally been an issue.
Trials in the USA have resulted in the
Food and Drug Administration (which is
responsible for protecting public health by
assuring the safety, efficacy and security of
human and veterinary drugs and biological
products) allowing a claim for improved aer-
obic stability only for inoculants supplying
at least 400,000 colony forming units (cfu) L
buchneri / g of wet silage. It is important to
check numbers of cfu supplied, not just the
inclusion of L buchneri in such inoculants.
Low levels of L buchneri may not be effec-
tive in achieving stable silages after opening.
Best results can still be achieved with
maize and whole crop silages using products
containing only homofermentative lactic
acid producing bacteria, in conjunction with
good silage making practices, as mentioned
above, plus good face and feed management.
For example, using shear grabs to ensure
clean cut silage faces and appropriate stack
size to ensure removal of sufficient silage to
move the face back at least 30cm a day.
If silage stack face and feed-out manage-
ment resulting in heating are issues, then an
ideal inoculant for maize and whole crop
cereal silages should contain a number of
strains of homofermentative lactic bacteria
to encourage rapid falls in pH plus sufficient
numbers of L buchneri to improve face
stability after opening.
Using incoculants on maize and whole crop silages
By Dr Julian
Specialist Maize Silage Inoculant
Advantages of using BIO-SIL® MAIZE
BIO-SIL® MAIZE dominates the natural fermentation
process by optimising a combination of 7 bene cial
strains of lactic acid producing bacteria.
BIO-SIL® MAIZE has been formulated to contain
high levels of Lactobacillus buchneri to minimise
heating at the pit face and at feed out.
Higher aerobic stability means lower feed out losses.
For all the facts call 0800 736 339
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