Even Inoculant Application is Key for Quality Silage
Uniform distribution of silage inoculants is an important factor in their ability to control the ensiling fermentation, and even gravity may be holding back inoculant performance. Some formulations may quickly settle out in the applicator tank — resulting in uneven application.
“Inoculants contain live bacteria that are diluted and applied in small quantities during harvest,” says Renato Schmidt, Ph.D., Forage Products Specialist, Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “In as little as an hour, the bacteria, which are heavier than water, can sink to the bottom of the tank. Producers can end up applying the correct concentration of bacteria for the first 30 to 60 minutes, then applying a more concentrated suspension as the bacteria settle out. Producers could apply pretty much just water later on in the application.”
To address these issues, producers should look for inoculants with advanced suspension technology, like the high concentration (HC) technology from Lallemand Animal Nutrition. These formulations resist sedimentation for up to 24 hours after dilution to produce a more homogenous product application. Plus, HC technology inoculants are more compatible with low-volume applicators as there is less risk of clogged pumps.
“HC technology produces a more stable suspension and improves bacterial stability,” Dr. Schmidt says. “With traditional inoculants, bacteria may only survive a few hours in the tank. If growers don’t use a full tank each day, they may have to drain and add fresh inoculant each day to get the optimum effectiveness. With HC technology, the bacteria can remain viable — and the tank is well mixed — into the following day.”
To further improve application, Dr. Schmidt recommends producers calibrate application rates, and check the rates several times a day. Using insulated tanks also helps keep the product cool to help maintain viability.
“Even application, and keeping the product cool, helps make the most of your inoculant investment,” he concludes. “Combined with good ensiling practices, inoculants can help growers produce high-quality silages that help lower feed costs and improve productivity.”