Silage is a type of fodder which preserved through fermentation for later use. Because of the increasing need of food for the growing population we use our more land for major cash crops, which results in limited availability of green fodder for dairy animals. Nutritious feed cost is also increasing for dairy animals. So, keeping this in mind silage is the best alternative for fodder to provide a balanced feed to meet our dairy needs. A regular supply of quality fodder throughout the year was a big issue but silage with the fermentation of fresh high-quality fodder resolve this issue. For this purpose, we cut the crop at high moisture content and then keep this chopped fodder under anaerobic conditions for 40-45 days which changes its sugar contents into the acids and increases the solubility of carbohydrates which not only increase its digestibility but also increase the shelf life of silage. More moisture contents mean more acid will be produced which makes it safe for a longer period. About 65% of the acids is the lactic acid is produced in it which preserve it for a longer period. Under good storage, it can be stored up to two years but if anaerobic conditions are not properly maintained then butyric acid is produced and give silage an unpleasant smell, fungus also damaged it under not proper storage conditions. Silage can increase the productivity of animals if effectively use.
Process of silage making:
Silage can be made from any green crop which is rich in carbohydrates like maize, sorghum, sugarcane, pearl millet. The process of silage making is following:
- First of all, we need machinery for cutting and chopping of fodder, chopping size must be 2-3 cm. after chopping it must be stored anaerobically as early as possible to preserve its moisture.
- It must be stored airtight for 40-45 days under the soil with full compaction into the silo.
- After fermentation there, we need to make bails of it with a bailer which stored it anaerobically tightly
- These bales can be used within two years
- You can use it directly from the silo, just open from one side and close tightly after taking silage.
This is a straightforward process for silage making but to maintain its quality proper care and expertise are required at every stage.
Characteristics of a good quality silage:
Good quality silage must have these quality standards
- Moisture – 65-70%
- Dry matter – 30-35%
- PH – 4
- High in lactic acid
- Bright light green yellowish colour
Process for animal’s consumption:
It is like green fodder and its alternative so can be used directly just like common fodder but ideally start from 3-4 kg per day then we should increase its consumption up to 25 kg per animal per day. There is no need for any fodder with silage but for good production of meat and milk Wanda and other feed,the material can be used.
Advantages of silage:
- Increase the milk and meat production
- It is sometimes cheaper than green fodder
- Ensure similar quality feed for animals in any conditions
- Give us relief from daily fodder cutting
- Better than hay in many ways as it is high in moisture contents
- Rich source of nutrition
Silage is a low-cost option for keeping your cows satisfied, stable, and active. However, in order to enhance the herd’s milk production and yields, you’ll need a dependable fat substitute to fill the nutrient holes that silage can fill.
Hamza Maqsood CEO: ManPasand Silage, Kasur MSc (hons) Agronomy Department of Agronomy, University of Agriculture Faisalabad