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Choosing an Inoculant to Address Two Major Corn-Silage Concerns

Many common silage problems result from two common challenges:

  1. Poor fermentation during early ensiling
  2. Aerobic spoilage during feedout.

The right forage inoculant can help address each of these concerns.

Poor Fermentation
To help ensure a rapid and efficient fermentation, use an inoculant proven to provide a quick pH drop. This helps preserve maximum nutrient value and reduce the activity of undesirable microbes, therefore helping to reduce the potential for silage deterioration at feedout. The lactic-acid bacteria Pediococcus pentosaceus 12455 provides an efficient, fast fermentation, fueled by sugars generated by specific high-activity enzymes.

Aerobic Spoilage
Increasingly, producers face a major problem in aerobic spoilage during silage feedout. Whenever silage heats, the nutritive value declines and there is the added potential for opportunistic microbes to grow, such as molds, and toxins to develop.

In most cases, aerobic instability (or silage heating) stems from lactate-assimilating yeasts. Furthermore, natural yeast populations on crops during harvest can be very high, so residual numbers in the silage can be an issue.

Yeasts need oxygen to grow. At feedout, when silage is again exposed to air, these spoilage yeasts “wake-up” and can grow rapidly, causing heating, spoilage and feed losses. Good feedout management minimizes this effect. Keep the silage surface tight and clean; avoid removing silage too far ahead of feeding; do not leave silage sitting in loose piles after feeding is complete; and feed out at a rate fast enough to prevent heating.

Research-proven inoculants can also prevent heating at feedout. Silage inoculated with Lactobacillus buchneri NCIMB 40788 makes silage more resistant to heating and spoilage, as this organism dramatically reduces yeast levels. L. buchneri 40788 applied at a minimum of 400,000 CFU per gram of silage or 600,000 CFU per gram of high-moisture corn (HMC), has been uniquely reviewed by the FDA and allowed to claim improved aerobic stability.

For additional information on choosing the right forage inoculant, visit or follow the Quality Silage Experts on Facebook.


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By: Drovers

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