Aerobic Instability - Bunker Treatment and Control

By Bill Seglar

Daily silage management of aerobic instability during feedout should include getting ahead of yeast and mold activity by increasing the daily silage removal rate, maintaining a clean face on horizontal silos, and removing only the amount of silage from the face that can be fed the same day. Disposal of the affected silage is recommended if enough silage cannot be fed to livestock to get ahead of silage affected by the yeast and mold activity. Tower structures should have a minimal daily removal rate of 4 inches during the winter and 6 inches during the summer. Bunkers, piles, and trenches should have at least 6 inches removed across the entire face daily during the winter and 12 inches during the summer. The use of a Sila-Bac® brand inoculants containing strains of Lactobacillus buchneri will permit lower feedout rates during hot weather months. Disposal of spoiled silage is essential for maintaining forage quality consistency required in rations fed to cattle for high productivity and health.

If the silo face is too wide for proper management, then the silo may be divided in half to feed out one side and then the other side to minimize aerobic activity. Proper silage removal techniques, maintaining a clean horizontal silo face, and use of buchneri containing inoculant will preserve a densely packed silage to minimize heating and spoilage during feedout.  

Most silage molds are not mycotoxin producers. However, if excessively depressed animal performance and health problems exist, mold cultures for enumeration and identification and a mycotoxin analysis should be performed to determine if mycotoxins may be a problem.

Long-term crop planning to minimize yeast and mold activity in silages includes properly sizing storage structures for ease in maintaining proper feedout rates, harvesting at proper maturity and moisture levels, fast fill, correct chop length, proper packing, covering and sealing the silo, maintain adequate feed out, and use of a Sila-Bac® brand inoculant that contains strains of Lactobacillus buchneri. Checking for air leaks and re-surfacing silo walls is recommended if mold pockets exist throughout the silo with or without the presence of yeast. Pioneer Sales Representatives have reference materials regarding these silage making management guidelines.

The bacterial strains of Sila-Bac® brand inoculants are designed to enhance aerobic stability and perform most efficiently under ensiling conditions that quickly promote the exclusion of oxygen in silage. The observation of aerobically unstable silage treated with a Pioneer inoculant usually is due to not adhering to management conditions that overwhelms the ability of the inoculant to depress aerobic activity. Ensiling forages and grains that are properly managed and treated with Pioneer inoculants will result in improved aerobic stability, along with improved dry matter recovery, and enhanced animal performance.

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