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Pioneer® brand 11A44 Inoculant Designed For Extended Bunklife


Pioneer® brand 11A44 Inoculant Designed For Extended Bunklife

By Bill Seglar & Bill Mahanna

Dry Matter Losses in Silage

A question often raised about using Pioneer® brand 11A44 inoculant is that achieving enhanced bunklife properties comes at the expense of excessive dry matter losses from the Lactobacillus buchneri organism utilizing lactic acid in the production of acetic and propionic acids. The value of using 11A44 comes from a reduction of excessive feedout losses that might exceed 40 percent in some cases. Using 11A44 in these situations will reduce dry mater losses, not to mention greater forage palatability and less potential for mycotoxin production compared to silage that has aerobically spoiled (i.e. heated or/and gone moldy).

But how do typical dry matter losses during fermentation and aerobic spoilage compare? Silage researchers list the following sources of dry matter losses from the time the crop is harvested until it is fed:

ProcessClassificationApproximate Loss (%)
Respiration and weathering Unavoidable 2 - 4
Harvesting Unavoidable 2 - 4
Fermentation Unavoidable 2 - 4
Effluent Avoidable 5 - 7
Secondary fermentation Avoidable 0 - > 5
Storage aerobic losses Avoidable 0 - > 10
Feedout aerobic losses Avoidable 0 - > 15
Total losses Avoidable 11 - > 60

Thus, the total losses from aerobic spoilage can be at least as high as 25 percent compared to about 4 percent from fermentation losses, typically. The unique strain of L. buchneri 11A44 helps to minimize those aerobic losses at feedout.

A paper by Muck and Pitt, presented at the National Silage Production conference in Syracuse looked at the average dry matter losses of wilted (65% moisture) and direct cut silage over 26 years:

Process% DM loss (wilted)% DM loss (direct cut)
Respiration 0.8 1.3
Fermentation 0.7 1.5
Aerobic losses during storage 5.0 4.7
Aerobic losses during emptying 5.2 3.8
Effluent 0.0 4.7
Total 12.1 17.7

In the more North American-typical 65 percent moisture silage, aerobic losses were 14.6 times the fermentation losses (10.2% vs. 0.7%). Even with wetter direct cut silage the aerobic losses were still nearly 6 times those due to fermentation (8.5% vs. 1.5%).

Bottom Line

Dry matter losses due to aerobic spoilage are typically many times higher than fermentation losses. Thus using 11A44 in situations where aerobic stability is an issue at feedout will significantly reduce total dry matter losses, and produce more palatable, less moldy forage with better intakes and performance.


  1. Mertens, D.R., 1999. Measuring the Effectiveness of NDF and its Applications in Dairy Rations. USDA-ARS US Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison, WI. Proceeding of SW Nutrition Conf., Feb. 25-26, 1999. p. 91-111.