Inoculants Offer Easier Access to Fiber and Improve Aerobic Stability

Researchers have discovered a unique strain of Lactobacillus buchneri (L. buchneri) that helps inoculants enhance fiber digestibility and nutrient availability of an ensiled crop. Certain Pioneer® brand inoculants contain this L. buchneri strain. It produces two key enzymes that improve silage quality, especially fiber digestibility.

Lignin is a substance in forage plants that bonds with cellulose and hemicelluloses inside the plant and hinders rumen bacteria ability to digest the fiber. Animals can't take full advantage of the energy in these forages, notes Scott Dennis, Ph.D., DuPont Pioneer technical services and training manager. The two enzymes separate the lignin from the cellulose and hemicelluloses, which allows rumen microbes to digest and use the energy contained in these fiber sources.

Improved aerobic stability

In addition, these inoculants contain other L. buchneri strains that, when combined with crop-specific, fermentation-controlling bacteria, dramatically improve aerobic stability or bunk life at feedout.

Fresh feed is critical for livestock. Dormant aerobic organisms - yeasts, molds and bacillus - are present in the silage. They begin to grow again during feedout, when the face of the silage bunker is re-exposed to oxygen. These growing organisms consume energy and often cause heating that decreases both the quantity and quality of silage.

One of the primary energy sources for these spoilage yeasts is lactic acid. As they consume lactic acid, pH rises and allows other spoilage organisms to grow, causing even more damage. The result is a moldy, lower-energy feed.

Inoculants that combine specific of L. buchneri with other valuable bacteria can provide, on average, 40-plus additional hours of stability.

In the silo, L. buchneri converts a portion of the lactic acid into acetic acid, which is a weaker acid. This keeps pH levels from falling too quickly. Acetic acid also is a good yeast inhibitor, which helps reduce heating during feedout. Preventing yeast growth results in more consistent and stable feed with higher forage quality. This adds up to improved palatability and feed consumption.

Look for Pioneer brand inoculants that offer a combination of Lactobacillus plantarum strains that produce lactic acid during the front-end fermentation along with L. buchneri strains that produce acetic acid to reduce heating during feedout. This formulation preserves silage quality from initial storage through feedout and helps you get more out of your silage: You can rely less on supplemental feed and save money.

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