Silage is a form of preserved pasture. Producing silage is important for dairy farmers at times when there is a fodder crisis particularly during the dry season to feed cows and sheep. Let’s understand why silage is important for livestock.
What is silage?
Silage is a fermented feed resulting from the storage of high moisture crops under anaerobic conditions in a structure called a silo. In brief, Silage is a high moisture fodder that farmers use to feed their domestic animals, especially during the dry season.
Made up of grass, corn, maize, and others, silages are made by chopping the crops into small pieces and fermented to maintain as many nutrients as possible (such as sugars and proteins).
To maintain the right nutrient level the process should take place in acidic conditions (around pH 4-5). Because low pH fermentation leads to the poor taste of silage, and lower sugar and Protein Percentage.
What makes silage the preferred fodder choice for cattle?
1. It’s Nutritious & Delicious
Dairy cattle naturally need a lot of energy to protect their body and maximize their milk yield. Since fermented silage is filled with proteins and fibre it becomes a preferred fodder for animals. Since Silage is also fermented they are rich in nutritional values and delicious too for the cattle.
|Dry matter||% as fed||32.5||30||34.9|
|Crude protein||% DM||7||4.9||10.2|
|Crude Fibre||% DM||20.3||15.8||26.3|
|Gross energy||MJ/kg DM||18.8||16.9||18.8|
|Ruminant Nutritive Values|
|DE ruminants||MJ/kg DM||13||–||–|
|ME ruminants||MJ/kg DM||10.8||10.2||11.7|
Nutritional Values in Corn Silage
2. Silage Is Better Than Hay any Day
Silage is fermented, which has more benefits to hay. Like most fermented products it is less subjected to spoilage. It is more palatable, and higher in proteins and certain vitamins. This means it provides a higher value feed for longer than the equivalent hay.
3. It’s Cost-Effective in the Long run
We agree dairy farming is cost-intensive and margins can be tricky. But procuring silage in bulk, in the long run, can be economical and a cost-effective solution wrt animal fodder. When calculated with the milk yield and cost spent on silage, It makes real business sense to go with corn silage for cattle than hay or any other form of animal fodder.
4. Silage is Spatially Economic too
Silage takes much less space than the normal animal fodder. Apparently, if you had to store equal quantities of dry matter, you would need three times the amount of space for loose hay. So baled silage not only makes economic sense but physical sense too.
5. Silage helps in better milk yields & overall cattle health
Silage is like rocket-fuel for cows. Silage plays an important role in dairy farmers in particular. Good quality corn silage is essential to ensure dairy cows not only maintain a healthy body but also produce high-quality and quantity milk.
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