The silage making season is here and it’s important to know the nutritional value of your silage!
Ever wondered how silage is made?
Once the crop has been baled in an air tight structure the plant undergoes respiration until all the oxygen is used up. This process converts carbohydrates or sugars into energy and heat and it is preferable that this process is as short as possible so that the fermentation process is not jeopardised and mould growth is minimised.
When there is no oxygen left, lactobacillus bacteria which is found on the plants start of rapidly multiply and begin the fermentation process. They use plant carbohydrates as an energy source to produce lactic acid which lowers the pH. Eventually the pH will get too low for the bacteria to function which signals the end of the fermentation process. As long as the silage is not exposed to oxygen, it can remain unchanged for several years.
It is important to let your crop ensile for 2-3 before you take a sample for testing. The accuracy of your feed test depends largely on the sample you send to the lab, so taking a representative sample is really important. Use a long coring probe to reach into pit/bunker or using a hay corer for wrapped silage. Or gather handfuls from 10 random areas across a newly cut face of pit or bunker.