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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center » Dairy Forage Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #288663

Title: Corn, alfalfa and grass silage preservation principles

item Muck, Richard

Submitted to: American Forage and Grassland Council Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/28/2012
Publication Date: 1/6/2013
Citation: Muck, R.E. 2013. Corn, alfalfa and grass silage preservation principles. American Forage and Grassland Council Conference Proceedings. p. 5.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Ensiling is the primary means of preserving moist forages for feeding livestock. In ensiling, the crop is stored anaerobically, and sugars in the crop are fermented by lactic acid bacteria naturally on the crop. The crop is preserved by the combination of the acids produced by the lactic acid bacteria, the resulting low pH and the anaerobic environment. Silage management strives to create conditions so that the lactic acid bacteria dominate other microorganisms and oxygen exposure is minimized. Key management steps include harvesting at the right moisture content, chopping at the right length, packing to a high density, sealing the crop well, holding plastic film tightly to the crop, feeding off the face at 30 cm/day, and keeping a smooth feed out face with no loose silage left overnight.