Silage inoculants offer option to feed recently made silage

05 May 2020

Late turnout and actions by producers to cut milk output due to the impact of COVID-19 may see some running out of silage this spring.

And they may be forced to feed this year’s first-cut silage much sooner than expected, according to Corteva Agriscience’s Jonathan Bellamy.

“It has been a long, wet winter and many cattle have been indoors longer than usual,” says Mr Bellamy. “And producers hit by a drop in demand for milk will probably cut down on expensive concentrates and rely more on conserved feed.

First cuts

“This means they will get through 2019’s silage much quicker than expected, and could even be opening up 2020’s first cuts to feed before second cut is harvested.

He’s recommending that producers apply the ‘rapid react’ versions of its silage inoculants. “This will not only ensure excellent fermentation but also aerobic stability, which is achieved in as little as seven days after ensiling.”

Aerobically stable

Pioneer brand 11G22RR for grass silage contains a combination of patented and proprietary strains of Lactobacillus buchneri and Lactobacillus plantarum, with the rapid react strain able to produce aerobically stable silage much quicker than formulations without it.

Peter Clayton runs a flying 320-cow herd at Larkton Hall in Malpas, Cheshire. Average yield is 8,600 litres, at 4.70% butterfat and 3.27% protein, with 4,200 litres produced from forage.

Multi-cut system

He has been running a multi-cut silage system for several years and uses Pioneer inoculants. In 2019  he tried 11G22RR for the first time and says he was ‘blown away’ by the results.

“There was a good fermented silage smell almost straight away and no heating whatsoever. I am always aware of heating because that loss of energy is energy you want inside the cows – not wasted.

Fully fermented

“We used it on all cuts in 2019, but third cut was notable. After we had finished harvesting, we left the face unsheeted and went back and started feeding it three days later. It was fully fermented, there was no heating and it fed well.

“Rapid react ‘does what it says on the tin’ and I get enhanced performance from using it. I shall be treating all cuts with 11G22RR this year.”