22 November 1996

FINLAND USES APPROVED PRODUCTS ON MOST SILAGE

ADDITIVES are used on over 90% of the silage made in Finland, where only approved products have been sold since 1990.

Legislation was introduced because the Finnish government wanted to improve national milk yield and compositional quality. As this depended on good forage, and low average dry matter and sugar levels in forage almost compelled farmers to use additives, it was decided to eliminate ineffective products.

The main aim is improved fermentation. Laboratory tests on silages made using additives are carried out at approved institutes, and are overseen by the Agricultural Chemistry Department of the Plant Production Inspection Centre at Vantaa. Successful applicants get a two-year sales permit. During this time the ministry of agriculture and forestry carries out field tests on at least 30 commercial farms using the additive in accordance with the manufacturers instructions.

If 60% of preserved samples meet agreed quality criteria for good silage, and 90% have acceptable feeding quality, the additive is approved.

Production and intake tests are encouraged, but are not compulsory for approval. Claims about additional benefits, such as enhanced digestibility and intake, protein protection and reduced effluent, cannot be used in advertising additives unless they are supported by independent research carried out under Finnish conditions.

To date seven acid-based additives have full approval. Ten products have fixed-term marketing authorisation, of which seven are biologicals.


FINNISH SCHEME


&#8226 Main aim improved fermentation.

&#8226 Approval secures two-year sales permit.

&#8226 Products field tested.