11 January 2002

Aerobic spoilage is reduced with additive

AS PRODUCERS have moved towards producing higher dry matter silages in recent years, the risk of aerobic spoilage has increased. But technological developments have enabled one additive manufacturer to address the problem.

A double action additive was marketed by Ecosyl Products for use on maize silage and whole-crop last year and the company has launched a grass silage version for this season, explains international research and technology director Terry Owen.

"A few years ago, grass silages were only 21% dry matter whereas now a 30% DM content is not uncommon, making them more vulnerable to aerobic spoilage."

Developing a biological solution to aerobic spoilage has proved difficult, says Kevin Brewer, the companys communications director. "Certain strains of bacteria offer some protection against specific yeast and mould strains, but there are so many it has proved difficult to develop a biological additive to reliably tackle all of them."

Instead, Ecosyl believes acid-based preservatives offer a more robust solution, says Dr Owen. "But the challenge when using an acid preservative alongside an inoculant – to improve fermentation – is keeping bugs forming the inoculant alive."

However, the company has recently developed formulation technology allowing fermentation enhancing bacteria to co-exist with acid, forming the Double Action Ecocorn additive for maize and whole-crop and double action versions of grass and round bale silage additives. They are available in liquid and dry formulations.

Used commercially for the first time last year, trials show Ecocorn has extended the stability of silage by up to 10 days longer than untreated forage. &#42