Silage is a feed obtained as a result of fermentation (souring) of water-rich feeds under the effect of milk acid bacteria in an airless environment. Silage is also shortly defined as pickled animals. The place where silage is stored is called silo or silage pit. High efficiency from animals can be achieved with good care and feeding. In this respect, quality silage has an important place in animal nutrition. Silo feed (silage) is an important application that increases productivity in the feeding of animals in conscious livestock farms. Planting time of these products, sowing type, siloing, harvest time are important factors.
Although it varies according to the regions, generally April-May if silage corn is planted as the main product, and June-July if the second crop is planted.
It is important to plant silage corn in a row. Because it will be harvested with a silage machine (single row, double row), it should be 65-70 cm between rows and 10-13 cm above rows.
Chopping the Silage and Filling it into the Silo
For a good silage production, first of all, the plant to be silaged must be harvested in a suitable period. When the humidity is 60-67%, the plants can be harvested and silaged. In this regard, the piece size of the silage material should be 0.6-2.5 cm in normal silage. Good breakdown of the plant to be silaged increases the quality of the silage, provides a better compression and more feed is stored per unit area.
Fermentation and Maturation of Silage
In order for green plants to be stored in the silo without deterioration, the pH of the environment should be lowered as soon as possible and micro-organisms that may cause silage to spoil should be lowered to a level where they cannot work. In general, silage reaches the maturity to be given to animals 7-8 weeks after its production. Matured silage will be fed immediately, or it can be kept for up to 2 years if it does not get air.
Additives added to silage are products with various properties that are used to improve fermentation, reduce silage losses, and increase the yield performance of animals consuming silage. Additives do not make a bad silage a good silage. It only turns a good silage into a better silage.
1) Carbohydrate Sources: Proper moisture content and suitable carbohydrate amount are not always available in plants harvested for silage. It becomes difficult for the fermentation to be carried out regularly in the silo. For this reason, corn, barley, oat grain, bran, grains and various cereal flours are included in this group. It is recommended to use 1-4% of the carbohydrate content of the silage material during the silage making of grain feeds rich in carbohydrates such as barley, wheat and corn.
2) Additives Reducing the Water Content of Feeds: If the feeds must be silosed when the water ratio is high, substances that will absorb water must be added to the silo. Dry beet pulp and wheat bran are mostly used for this job. These should be added 25-30 kg to 1 ton silo feed. Materials such as straw and straw are not recommended to be used unless absolutely necessary, as they reduce the quality of the silage.
3) Salt: Since the sodium ratio of green feeds is low, they do not meet the needs of animals. For this, it is also necessary to add salt to silo feeds. Although salt has a weak effect on fermentation, it can be added 1-3% to silage due to its bactericidal effect. It is recommended to add coarse ground rock salt to silo feeds. It also prevents mold on the wall edges of the silage pits and on the top of the silage.
There are also commercially available silage additives. These reduce the pH of the silage thanks to the organic acids they contain. Thus, the formation of mold and fungi is prevented. It ripens the silage in a short time.
Things to Consider While Silage
When the dry matter content is 30-40%, the corn plant should be harvested.
The silage piece size should theoretically be cut to 19 mm length and the core should also be processed.
The silage pit should be filled as soon as possible. The compression process is essential to lower the temperature and not to destroy the protein.
When the filling and compression is completed, it should be covered with plastic wrap.
Every day, when silage is to be given, at least 15 cm should be cut from the edge surface.
Benefits of Silage in Animal Nutrition
Provides good and cheap feeding of animals in winter months when there are no green and juicy feeds.
Weed storage problem and warehouse expenses are minimized. 15 tons of green feed can be stored where 2 tons of hay is stored.
Silage plants empty the field early, so there is a good time to plant other plants. With the drying of green fodder, its stems and leaves are hardened and shed. Since the stems harden, their nutritional value decreases and they are not eaten by animals. However, the nutritional value of the feed does not lose in silage and it is eaten by animals.
Factors Affecting the Quality of Corn Silage
In a good quality silage, the pH should be between 3.8-4.2. Because silage.