Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 23, 2010
Publication Date: April 21, 2010
Citation: Muck, R.E. 2010. Influence of Management Factors on Silage Quality. In: Proceedings of Expoleche San Marcos 2010, April 21-23, 2010, Aguascalientes, Mexico. p. 1-10. Technical Abstract: Making high quality silage starts by harvesting the crop at optimum quality. However, silage quality also depends on silo management. All of the silage management principles focus on one issue: eliminating or minimizing the exposure of the crop to oxygen. The reason for this goes back to what silage fermentation can and cannot do. A good fermentation of sugars by lactic acid bacteria to lactic acid and other products will stop competing anaerobic bacteria that can make silage unpalatable to cattle. However, that fermentation can only slow, not stop, aerobic microorganisms like yeasts and molds. Unfortunately most of the losses during silo storage and most of the variability in losses between silos comes from the growth of aerobic spoilage microorganisms. To stop these spoilage microorganisms, the producer needs to control the amount of oxygen exposure. That control involves filling the silo rapidly, packing the crop to a high density, sealing the silo well, maintaining that seal, feeding out at a high rate, and keeping a smooth silage face. If these are all done well, then the producer can expect a silage of similar quality to that of the crop at ensiling.