24 November 1995

APPROVAL SCHEME IN PLACE

Approval by category at last. The new list of

products for the UK Forage Additives Approval Scheme sets out which additives meet three approval categories. For the first time, producers can find out for what particular job a forage

additive has been approved.

For example, all well established products have been approved in category A, so whoever buys a category A additive is likely to be rewarded with improved use of that silage by stock.

This approval scheme must be welcomed, therefore, as a valuable guide on which to base

purchasing decisions.

Its importance is also underlined by recent research which shows how cost-effective certain additive treatments can be. Indeed, the return on money invested in an additive can be more than doubled when £1.50/t is spent on an

inoculant.

However, it is expensive to secure the data needed to gain UKASTA registration of an additive. The danger is that research efforts of the main

manufacturers could stagnate, and innovation be stifled.

This risk could in part be removed if there was compulsory independent on-farm monitoring of recommended products. Makers would then be encouraged to continue to improve their additives.

Such a procedure will instill confidence in a

products continued ability to perform as approved.

That said additives are not the only way to improve silage feed value. For example, that cows prefer grass silage made after rapid wilting, has been proven by recent research at Hillsborough, Northern Ireland.

We also report on the latest IGER research which suggests why animals perform better on silage made using inoculants.