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Silage

1. Introduction
2. What is Corn Silage?
3. Best Practices of Silage Preparation
   3.1. Selection of Corn Hybrid
   3.2. Construction of Bunker
   3.3. Harvesting at Proper Time
   3.4. Use of Inoculants
   3.5. Compaction
   3.6. Sealing
   3.7. Silage Feeding
4. What are Inoculants?


1. Introduction

Livestock farming is growing rapidly in Pakistan. Better performing Genetics, ideal Environment and Nutrition are three basic principles for profitable farming. In Pakistan current supply of fodder is 40% less than actual demand which affects production of animals negatively. To fulfill this fodder deficiency, farmers feed wheat straw to their animals which not only increases costs but also has no nutritional value. Moreover environmental factors, unavailability of labor and decrease in agricultural land for fodder make availability of nutritive feed impossible. The simplest solution of this problem is Pioneer
Corn Silage. Pioneer Corn Silage not only decrease total expenditures on feed but also makes farming profitable by increasing milk and meat production. Pioneer researchers have exclusively developed Proven Highly Digestible (PHD) hybrid seeds of maize crop for livestock feeding; yielding very good tonnage with higher digestibility and uniform supply of quality nutrients at farm round the year. Ensiling (Cutting and fermenting) corn fodder for ensuring continuous and uniform fodder supply is the only workable option for Pakistani farmers. Increased nutrients supply to the animals enables them to perform decent both in milk and meat production; consequently, resulting in improved profit margins and a prosperous life for producers, while; healthy food products also have upright impact on overall health of community.

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2. What is Corn Silage?

Corn Silage is preserved fodder of whole (with cobs) corn plant in which nutritional value of corn is stored for longer period of time.

Silage can be prepared with all crops but corn silage is more profitable due to following reasons.

  1. Highly Digestible
  2. Nutritive than other silages
  3. Delicious for animals
  4. Easy and economical
  5. Long life
  6. Balance nutrition round the year
  7. Increase milk and meat production

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3. Best Practices of Silage Preparation

3.1. Selection of Corn Hybrid

  • More than 40 % grain ratio
  • More than 70% digestible
  • Pioneer Recommended Corn Hybrids for Silage

    Hybrid

    Sowing Time

    32B33

    Mid December - Mid March

    32F10

    Mid December - Mid March

    31P41

    Mid December - Mid March

    3062

    1st June - Mid August

    30Y87

    1st June - Mid August

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    3.2. Construction of Bunker

    Corn Silage can be prepared in bunkers, pits or piles but bunkers are better than other methods for getting high quality silage.

    During construction of bunkers following things should be keep in mind

    • Selection of suitable site
    • No. of animals
    • Bunker site
    • Availability of crop for silage
     

    Note: Bunker length, width and height can be designed according to needs.

    Bunker Size

    Area (acres)

    Production (ton)

    Length (ft)

    Width (ft)

    Height (ft)

    1

    20 - 25

    25

    15

    6

    5

    100 - 125

    50

    15

    6

    10

    200 - 250

    80

    25

    6

    15

    300 - 375

    100

    25

    8

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    3.3. Harvesting at Proper Time

    Harvesting crop with maize harvester at proper moisture and maturity is critical for

    • Elimination of oxygen in the silage mass
    • Providing sufficient water soluble carbohydrates (sugars) to drive the fermentation process to completion.

    For corn silage, corn grain should typically be at half milk line and whole plant moisture at 65%. Kernel processing is advised on corn silage because:

    • It improves starch availability.
    • It improves digestibility of silage.
    • It improves the quality of fermentation.
    • It may improve pack density.

    Chop Length:

    Theoretical length of chop (TLC) can be set from 3/8" to 3/4". Short chopped silages may be harder to feed at high inclusion levels in a ration because physically effected fiber is critical for rumen health. Longer chopped silages will be harder to pack.

    Note: If silage harvester is not available, crop can be chopped with Toka at size of 1- 2 cm.

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    3.4. Use of Inoculants

    For getting high quality silage, suitable Pioneer brand Inoculants should be sprayed on crop during filling into bunkers. Because their use:

    1. Speeds up fermentation process
    2. Improves quality of fermentation
    3. Increase bunk life
    4. Decrease heat losses
    5. Increase digestibility of Silage

    Note: Solve 50g Pioneer inoculant in 25 liter of water and spray it on one ton of chopped fodder at rate of half liter per ton.

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    3.5. Compaction

    Packing is one of the most critical elements of making quality silage. Poorly packed silage will have extended plant cell respiration resulting in an increased loss of digestible nutrients. Entrapped air can allow the growth of aerobic micro-organisms (yeasts and molds) which are detrimental to the ensiling process.

    • Keep slope at approximately 300.
    • Pack in thin layers < 6".
    • Ideal pack density is > 20 Kg/ft3

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    3.6. Sealing

    Covering is extremely important to keep air and moisture from penetrating into the silage mass. Covering with a heavy grade plastic (>8mm) will minimize spoilage of silage. White plastic will help reflection of sunlight and reduce moisture formation under plastic more than black plastic. Plastic should be weighted down with used tires or mud to keep the plastic tightly secured and in direct contact with the silage mass.

    Note: Complete bunker filling process in one day. If not possible, cover bunker every day after filling bunker in layers as shown in following fig and try to complete this process as soon as possible.

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    3.7. Silage Feeding

    Silage is ready to feed after 30 - 40 days. Good silage is brownish in color and gives vinegar like smell. Thumb-rules of good silage bunker face management at the time of feed out include

    1. Always open silage bunker from front face.
    2. Silage should be removed from bunker face by shaving the silage face from top to bottom.
    3. Feed off a minimum 6 inches across the entire face daily and keep the face clean.
    4. Remove and dispose of visible moldy crust from bunker surface when pulling back cover.
    5. Don't allow loose silage to lie in front of the bunker until next feeding.
    6. Don't remove silage and store on feed pad for later feeding.
    7. Uncover silage only at the time of feeding and never keep it uncovered.
     

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    4. What are Inoculants?

    Pioneer brand inoculants contain patented strains of lactic acid-producing bacteria designed to help speed up and improve fermentation and silage quality in several ways:

    • Retaining valuable nutrients
    • Reducing dry matter losses
    • Improve nutritive value of starch and fiber
    • Improve protein quality by reducing ammonia production
    • Extend bunklife by reducing spoilage by yeast and molds.
    • Increase in milk and meat production of animals
    • Improve quality of milk by increasing fat percentage and Protein of milk

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    For Further Information Please contact Pioneer Representatives.

    Last Modified:July 15, 2011
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