Producing higher quality silage

22 June 2001

Producing higher quality silage

THE greater ability of silage inoculants to make use of fructan, a complex long chain sugar contained in grasses, should result in quicker fermentation and higher silage quality.

Extensive research by the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER), recently funded by Genus, shows that fructan makes up 50-80% of the sugar content of UK grass. Yet most strains of lactic acid bacteria are unable to make use of this sugar.

Senior research scientist David Davies found only two out of 300 strains of lactic acid bacteria could use fructan. "In good and poor ensiling conditions, an inoculant containing Lactobacillus plantarum strain, Aber F1, can improve preservation of silage by speeding up fermentation and so retaining nutrients."

IGER trials of Genuss Powerstart inoculant shows Aber F1 uses all sugars, or water soluble carbohydrates, as soon as it is added to the silo. "The inoculant is freshly cultured, so bacteria are actively dividing before they are put onto the crop. Freeze-dried products take time to become active." &#42

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