Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: January 20, 2012
Publication Date: January 28, 2012
Citation: Muck, R.E. 2012. Silage inoculants: when and how to use them. Dairy Star. 13(23):28. Technical Abstract: Silage inoculants work by shifting silage fermentation toward better crop preservation. That happens when lactic-acid bacteria in the inoculant overwhelm the natural lactic-acid bacteria on the crop. However, even the best inoculants are not always successful. The two main types of silage inoculants include traditional homo-fermenters, such as Lactobacillus plantarum, Pediococcus species, and Enterococcus faecium; and more recently the hetero-fermentative bacteria Lactobacillus buchneri. Homo-fermenters convert 6-carbon sugars into one product, lactic acid. In contrast, hetero-fermenters produce multiple products. The best inoculant depends on your goals. Homo-fermentative inoculants are best to improve dry matter (DM) recovery and animal performance, particularly with hay-crop silages. For bunk-life/aerobic-stability problems, L. buchneri is a good alternative to propionic acid or anhydrous ammonia as it's safer to handle, cost competitive, and has similar effects on DM recovery and animal performance. L. buchneri is a slow grower that requires 45-60 days of storage to be effective; so it’s ineffective for heating problems with immature silage.