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Condah Silage Grower Update, hosted by

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  1. Condah Silage Grower Update, hosted by

  2. Lockington Silage Grower Update, hosted by

  3. The Relevance of Silage to AFIA Members And how to get it more right if you are in the game….because we as a nation are CRAP AT SILAGE . Its too mature and too dry

  4. Why would you as an AFIA member be into silage ?It’s a hay organisation right ? ( oh OK , silage is fodder for sure !)

  5. 1- You make and trade It : • Ideally you are cutting early , to conserve the best low maturity fodder, that makes premium silage, the most animal output, and you get a premium for your efforts • Or…You see a big front coming and want to wrap it before it fully curred down • Or…Its already wet and you wrap it before its snot

  6. 2- You are serving , advising and working for a client • Ideally you are cutting early , to conserve the best low maturity fodder, that makes premium silage, the most animal output, and you get a premium for your efforts • Or…You see a big front coming and want to wrap it before it fully curred down • Or…Its already wet and you wrap it before its snot

  7. 3- Spread your season and “utalisation” • Silage often gets going earlier than hay , that is good. • Early silage( quality) gets going earlier …spreads the work load a bit • Hay runs till Xmas or there abouts • Summer crop pit silages ( maize / sorghum) run well after Xmas….that is spreading it further • Just more work overall in a season

  8. The upsides ! • Quality and animal performance , based on earlier cutting date and less maturity • Flexability earlier in a season or with a higher moisture

  9. The down sides ! • It costs more than hay to make silage • It is a lot more tricky with extra steps and risks to go wrong • If selling it , You transport water around the countryside on a truck…silage is less smart on a truck

  10. General Forage Conservation: Some principles apply in both silage and hay production: centrally….plant maturity is crucial to outcomes • A huge pile of hay or silage may lend a warm inner glow , but does it make any money if its crap? • Would I rather 300T of good fodder or 500T of rubbish ? • Lets stick it in front of 100 Beef steers at 300kg

  11. The seasonal progression • Feed type Better silage/hay Worse silage/hay • ME 9.5 8.2 • NDF% 50 65 • ADF% 36 45 $/t 1 130 100

  12. The numbers on 300kg steer growth • Hay type OK Poor • Intake KGDM/d 7 5.5 • Energy intake 66 45 • Growth rate g/d 520 70 • Days to gain 50kg 96 700 • Kg Feed/kg gain 13 77

  13. FCR = 13kg feed per 1kg meat gained 300,000kg/ 13=23,000 kg weight gain $46,000 of weight with input of 300T at $130/t = $39,000 +$7000 FCR = 77 kg feed per 1kg meat gained 500,000/77 =6450 kg weight gain $12,900 of weight with input of 500T at $100/t = $50,000 -$37,000 300T of good vs 500T poor hay/silage

  14. The Outcome in $ Beef • Feed Good OK Poor • Growth rate g/d 1300 520 70 • % of feed making meat 56% 31% 3% • Kg Feed/kg gain6.8 13 77 • Feed cents/kg 10 10 10 • Cost to gain1kg $0.68 $1.30 $7.70 • (So how good is that overly mature bulk of hay or silage now )

  15. WHAT EVER YOU CUT :CUT FOR QUALITY NOT CRAP • Quality drives production, volume is a false economy and false confidence • If you need crap , buy straw .That is often there, you can nearly always find crap if you need • If cutting things in your control…cut early and cut quality. • Its harder to BUY quality

  16. The special wonders of silage (and a few extra challenges)


  18. Some comments on silage • The british and northern Europeans or some bugger “invented” it to do forage when hay was impossible… you reckon Victoria is wet and cold . Think of Ireland and Scotland mate ! • Gives the ability to Cut early in the season for quality without 5 dry days. Wilting helps for sure , but don’t cut late just to get a wilt….no one in Ireland has real vision of getting a big wilt, but they make good silage still

  19. Cut early and compact the billy-oh out of it with a big tractor , water in the wheels and just singles not duels…it’s about weight driving down to get rid of oxygen. Compaction is king • Time of cut drives maturity , thus compactability and thus performance and preservation in the end…not just Nutrients from a less mature fodder • Better feed quality and less spoilage risk : Cool

  20. What makes good silage outcomes • 1- Time of cut, not mature (we can put this into numbers) • 2- Good fermentation (we can put this into numbers) • 3- Managing secondary fermentation • 4- managing toxins production • 5- Low wastage at feed out

  21. Silage follows same rules of nutrients as other fodders, + some • Hay and pasture quality can be measured with protein, ME, NDF ...all pretty straight forward, and about maturity as we said • Silage needs those numbers , but it needs more to measure how it “ferments” and pickles and preserves...and feeds out ! • Intake , energy yield etc all impacted by these more unusual paremeters

  22. Some extra parameters • Dry matter: aim 30-40% pit 35-45% bales • pH: aim 4.0-4.7 (How stable) • Lactic acid: aim over 5% (the preserving acid) • Acetic acid: aim low (under 2%, wrong acid) • L:A ratio : aim high is best, at least over 3:1 • Ammonia: aim low , under 1% (protein good quality ,not degraded) • WSC: more is better , aim for 5-15%. Sugars! • Butyric: Any is bad , aim for zero !

  23. Good silage tests, with only hay numbers Silage number 1 2 3 4 NDF% 46 39 50 48 Protein 19 17 17 20 Treatment Innoc innoc. Innoc nothing All look pretty good on the face of it , based on maturity as it were !

  24. Good silage tests- watch your dry matter even with good forage Silage number 1 2 3 4 NDF% 46 39 50 48 Protein 19 17 17 20 Treatment Innoc innoc. Innoc nothing Silage parameters Dry matter% 30 36 40 25* pH 4.29 4.0 4.3 5.1 Lactic% 6.87 8.61 4.03 2.78 Acetic% 3.39 0.97 0.43 6.20 Lac/Acet ratio 2.03 8.91 9.37 0.45 Ammonia% 0.93 0.25 0.35 2.4% WSC% 9.6 11.6 15 6.5

  25. Silage from more challenging stuff

  26. The two big things that I reckon commonly make it damn hard to get it right • 1- Excess maturity: less sugars to ferment to acid , more fibre and lignin to impede compaction ( less than 50% NDF ) • 2- Too dry: If we want bugs to grow and ferment , it needs to be damp enough to grow bugs properly • ( 25-35% DM for pit , 35-40% Bale)

  27. The right tool for your silage type, inoculants are not always the optimal tool in Australia C A Silage NDF or Maturity or difficulty to compact or oxygen retained B D Silage Dry Matter

  28. C

  29. B

  30. D

  31. A

  32. If you know its not “silage” gear….ponder on how you manage risk • Knowledge on this simple wee matrix makes things more clear • Probably half the time preservatives are a better bet than innoculants, as it was never going to ferment and all we can hope is to ensure spoilage doesn’t occur…as that brings on a whole raft of further challenges • Or do it as hay !!!!

  33. Understand the process ! • Silage is complex , and we can cock it up in nearly all the ways we can cock up hay…and then some extra ones ! • 6 stages of silage management are generally seen….yep 6!!!

  34. Stage1- Aerobic run down • Still air in stack/bale • Aerobic oxidation = heat gain • Short pahse , just a fewe hours with good delivery and compaction • If longer = more spoilage risk as mould and yeast persist with air • pH still high

  35. Stage2- Air gone. Fermentation starts • Heterofermenters kick in , egEnterobacteria and Peddicocci. Handle the high pH and the heat. • Acid starts forming from plant sugars Acetic and lactic acid • Lasts 1-3 days as things “kick off” • Gets pH down to about pH 5

  36. Stage3: Transition to full fermentation • Transition to proper lactic acid bugs and more good strong acid. • Enterobacteria die back with pH drop • Change occurs over 1-2 days as bug populations in the forage change

  37. Stage4- Classic period of lactic acid accumulation • If we get it right , we get ongoing conversion of sugars to lactic acid in a stable bug population. • Terminal pH determined by sugars on offer , moisture and natural acid buffering ( eg legumes !) • Terminal pH doesn’t mean it GOT THERE IDEALLY…but it’s a guide !

  38. Stage 5- Its stable silage • Its now pickled grass ! • No oxygen , lots of acid • no spoilage bugs as they cant live with the acid or without the oxygen • Cooler now too

  39. Stage6- Feed out and oxygen penetration again • Oxygen is back in, and with that comes potential spoilage agin • Yeasts can live on lactic acid ! • Manage the pit face …clean face not crusty guys ! • Potential for L buchneri or L Brevis to help. Like wise preservatives

  40. Whats important • Get in it fast • Get it in tight • Get it immature enough to compact • Get it in immature enough to have some sugars • Get it in with some moisture • Pack the crap out of it

  41. What do innoculants do if they then ? • If you can get a fermentation going they get the bug numbers growing and get the pH down to terminal pH faster…and some times at a bit lower pH • This can be a really good thing I assure you ! • L. Buchneri or L Brevis both impede re growth of spoilage bugs when we feed out the bale or open the pit • Silage stays cooler after opening • All innoculants are not the same !!

  42. FERMENTATION PROFILE Don’t just assume its about lactic acid bugs…remember they are about stage 3 of the bugs in action !

  43. Secondary Fermentation • After opening , microbes come back and grow, consuming further nutrients • Silage heats at the face • Lactic acid can be a food for some ! • Mould growth and toxin production can then occur AFTER the pit is opened • Undoes some good work • Manage your face carefully

  44. Mycotoxins: a common problem if we get silage wrong • All about oxygen,with oxygen comes problems from mould and fungi • With this comes possible toxins • Take home point…no mould is OK mould! • If you have it , then look at Mycotoxin management products egElitox = 6c/day • My arvo today- Cobram Vets with Dodgy sorghum silage. Lets count how it went wrong !!

  45. Mouldcolours in conserved forage                             Reference:  Dr. Bill Mahanna, "Prevention And (If Necessary) Management of Moldy Silage."

  46. Danger levels for Mould growth- a context for risk Interpretation Guidelines for Mold Counts * col/gm (colonies per gram)

  47. Favoured temperature ranges for moulds that make Mycotoxins Aflatoxins Zearalenone Don T2

  48. Some Innovation That I think is handy • 1- Understanding what product type has a application when • ( not just…” maaate… I ‘noculated it mate !”) • Use the right stuff …..some times an innoculant , some times a preservative…some times just don’t do it as silage !!!