Once the silo is opened, the silage mass at the face is exposed and oxygen penetrates as much as three inches into the silo, and that’s where the danger begins. Yeasts are the primary spoilage microorganisms after air exposure of the silage. In the presence of oxygen, yeast utilizes lactic acid as substrate, increasing silage pH which is an opportunity for fungi growth. Designing a pile that allows greater feedout rates decreases the time that the face is exposed to atmospheric air, and, therefore, limits the growth of spoilage microorganisms. 

FEEDOUT RATE MATTERS 

It is important to design a pile that permits feedout of at least six inches of the face per day. However, piles with lower bulk density need greater feedout rates to avoid spoilage when compared to a higher density pile. For example, a pile with average density of 50 lbs/ft3 (as fed) needs four inches of feedout rate to have feedout losses at the maximum recommended loss (around 3%), while a pile averaging 30 lbs/ft3 (as fed) needs around seven inches of feedout per day to achieve the same 3% loss. Therefore, a feedout rate of minimum six inches per day is recommended to avoid spoilage across a variety of bulk density piles.

Figure 1. Graphical representation of theoretical reach of atmospheric oxygen through a well packed silage face. A feedout rate of at least six inches per day decreases the time silage is exposed to oxygen, therefore minimizing yeast activity.

Figure 1. Graphical representation of theoretical reach of atmospheric oxygen through a well packed silage face. A feedout rate of at least six inches per day decreases the time silage is exposed to oxygen, therefore minimizing yeast activity. 

 

Piles taller than the reach of your face-removal equipment will likely have a ledge remaining as silage is removed. This ledge is more prone to spoilage if exposed to air for longer and creates a hazard as it increases the likelihood of an avalanche accident.

Even though silage inoculation with L. buchneri helps keep silage cooler and free of spoilage for longer periods, it cannot overcome poor feedout management.

Read also

Overcoming Challenges for Grass and Legume Silage

There are many potential reasons why grass silage may end up with an undesirable fermentation. Below is a list of common issues that arise during the process of making grass and legume silage and potential causes and solutions.

Read more

Winter Safety Tips Around the Farm

We all know that there’s never an “offseason” on the farm. Even deep into the heart of winter, there is always work to do: Animals to feed, plans to make, paths to shovel.

Read more

Successful Feeding Strategies to Support Cow Fitness

The old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and it’s true! With any disease, especially in the animal agriculture industry, it always makes the most sense to prevent so you don’t have to treat.

Read more