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Silage tips: The importance of compaction

Silage tips: The importance of compaction

Effective fermentation can be seen as a race for domination between the desirable Lactic Acid Bacteria and a combination of undesirable spoilage bacteria, yeast and molds. The faster this is achieved, the more nutritious and digestible the silage will be.

Front end DM loss is plant carbon that is lost as CO2 through the growth of undesirable microorganisms and ongoing plant cell respiration.

These DM losses occur primarily during the first week of ensiling and then during feed out. In both cases, problems can be traced to the mismanagement of oxygen at ensiling.

  • Amount of ensiled air is directly related to silage density.
  • The more compacted, the less oxygen remains in the silage.
  • If less oxygen, anaerobic fermentation can start faster, less DM will be lost.

See on the PDF below: Effect of packing density on dry matter losses (haylage) (Adapted from Ruppel )

As shown on this graph, the more compacted the silage is, the less forage dry matter will be lost.