Maize silage quality produced by different harvest techniques

Today, in addition to maize silages with a standard chop length of 5 to 10 mm, shredlage with a longer chop length (26 to 30 mm) and power maize with a higher proportion of cobs are also produced. At Agroscope, digestion experiments with sheep as well as fattening bull experiments were conducted comparing the use of these new processes versus standard maize. The maize silage was ensiled in bales and/or in tower silos in the different techniques. At the same time, the fermentation quality, microbiological quality and aerobic stability of the silages were investigated. Owing to its higher percentage of cobs and later ensilaging time, the power maize had a higher dry-matter (DM) content than the rest of the techniques, resulting in a lower lactic-acid content. Viewed as a whole, the fermentation quality of all the silages was very good. Although average values for yeasts, bacteria and moulds were in the normal range. But shredlage and the standard maize silages from the tower silo were characterised by a higher yeast count compared to standard maize in balles and powermais, which had a negative impact on aerobic stability.

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