Submitted to: Progressive Forage Grower
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2013
Publication Date: September 21, 2013
Citation: Muck, R.E. 2013. Silage inoculant effects on milk production and why that may be important to you. Progressive Forage Grower. 27(14):117,119. Technical Abstract: Silage inoculants are the most common additives used in making corn and hay crop silages. The main active ingredients in these products are lactic acid bacteria that help ensure the fermentation in the silo goes in a direction that helps preserve the crop. While inoculants have been available for many years, there are still questions about whether they are worth using. The most common inoculants are lactic acid bacteria that produce mostly lactic acid, guaranteeing a fast, efficient fermentation in the silo. There are two areas where an inoculant can provide a return on investment: dry matter recovery from the silo and increased animal production. Improvements in dry matter recovery will pay farmers for using these additives. However, the biggest return on investment occurs if these additives increase milk production. Recent research has focused on why some inoculants might cause cows to produce more milk. Research results to date are suggesting that some inoculants are causing the rumen microorganisms to convert more of the silage into rumen microorganisms, a major source of protein to the cow. There is clearly more research needed to understand why an inoculated silage may affect rumen microorganisms. However, today we have confidence that some, but not all, inoculants are affecting rumen fermentation in a way that accounts for increased milk production.