1 September 1995

Survey shows maize growers must pick additive with care

MAIZE growers planning to use an additive to improve aerobic stability at feed out should consider carefully which one to use.

This is evident from the results of an independent survey by Somerset-based Kingshay Farm-ing Trust. Its latest report on additives for maize silage cites four of 10 additives* tested failed to improve the aerobic stability of a 36% dry matter silage when compared with a "no additive" control.

Kingshays Martin Hutchinson says producers seeking to reduce aerobic stability of a similar silage will benefit little by using one of these four additives. At an average £1.55/t for the 10 studied, he says even producers growing only 4ha (10 acres) of maize, yielding a modest 30t/ha (12t/acre), could waste at least £186 with the wrong additive. He reckons aerobic stability is an important factor in assessing silage quality. It gives a reliable estimate of shelf life once the silage is exposed to air.

At Kingshay, Dr John Bailie and James Hague used temperature and pH recordings to calculate a stablity index. All silages were then compared, with an index of 100 being the no-additive treatment. Indices from the 10 treatments ranged from 89 to 171, with only six additives scoring over 110.

Mr Hutchinson says that during the stability study when the 36% DM silage was exposed to air, DM losses of silage treated with some additives were higher than the 11% recorded for the no additive control. But effective products cut DM loses to 3%.

The report Silage Additive Testing Scheme – Maize Silages is available to Kingshays farmer members. Details (01460-72977).

* Maizekeeper, Maxmaise, Maize-zyme Gold, Regulator, Maize-All, Goldstore, Silage Pro, Bio-Logic Maize, Ecocorn, Live System. &#42