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Silage Preparation: A Complete Guide for Beginners

Silage is the conserved green fodder having moisture content in the range of 65 to 70 per cent. Fodder crops rich in soluble carbohydrates are incubated after chaffing for 45-50 days under anaerobic conditions.

Ayushi Raina
Silage Preperation
Silage Preperation

Silage is a fermented feed made by storing high moisture crops in anaerobic conditions in a silo. In a short, silage is a high-moisture fodder that farmers utilize to feed their domestic animals, particularly during the dry season. Silages are created by cutting grass, corn, maize, and other crops into little pieces and then preserving them.

What are the advantages of silage making?

• Silage retains around 85% of the nutritional content of the crops.

• During the lean months and during droughts, silage can provide a steady supply of high-quality fodder. When there is a surplus of green production, it can be stored as silage for future use.

• More dry weight of feed can be accommodated than a cubic foot of long hay stored in the heap.
Let us now focus on how silage is prepared!

Silage Preparation:

The pasture is cut when the grasses have the maximum nutritional value during the silage making process. This level is reached before they reach full maturity.

Because all forms of preserved grass, such as hay and silage, contain lesser quantities of nutrients than fresh pasture, it is cut just before they are fully grown. This means that everything must be done to make the finished product as nutritious as possible.

The grass is permitted to wilt in the field for a few hours during silage making to lower the moisture content to about 60-75 percent, which is the ideal amount.

If the grass is left out for too long, it may get excessively dry or wet, both of which may impair the fermentation's effectiveness.

Fermentation procedure

The cut grass is chopped into even smaller bits (0.5 inches or 1.3 cms) and compressed throughout the fermentation process to expel the oxygen more efficiently.

This is significant because microorganisms, particularly lactic acid bacteria, thrive in anaerobic (oxygen-free) conditions.

Plant enzymes and other microorganisms react with plant sugars and proteins to produce energy when oxygen is present, decreasing the quantity of nutrients in the final product.

Storage of silage

Following the first 2 steps, the compressed grass is sealed with plastic to keep oxygen out. To guarantee optimum compression, mounds of silage are covered with large polythene (plastic) sheets and weighted down (typically with used tires). Bales, on the other hand, are simply wrapped in plastic.

Tractors and other machinery are generally driven over the grass pile until it is firm in instances when the silage is to be kept in bales. Baling equipment will be used to compress the grass if the silage is kept in bales.

Technique for preservation of Silage:

Lactic acid bacteria begin to proliferate once the fermentation process is completed and all of the oxygen has been used up. These are the microorganisms required for the production of silage. They perform an important role in converting plant sugars to lactic acid, which causes the pH to decrease (mixture becomes more acidic).

The sugars stop breaking down at a pH of about 4-5, and the grass is maintained until the silage is opened and exposed to oxygen.

If the pH isn't low enough, a different type of bacteria will begin to ferment the silage, producing by-products (such as ammonia) that cows and sheep dislike. As a result, the latter scenario must be avoided at all costs.

At Cornext, one of India's top corn silage suppliers provides silage bales and baling services to major dairy farms and farmers who can identify the maize crop for silage.

We have to work best with farmers by bringing in a team of specialists who will come to your fields, harvest the crop, and pack it in the finest conditions possible.

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