At this time of year farmers are bombarded with information on silage inoculants. With so much variation between years and cuts, it’s very difficult to compare silage inoculants or even treated verses untreated crops. Many products claim to be better than the next one, so how can they actually be compared?
It is advisable to check the bacterial strains are EU approved. The EU registration system has standard parameters to measure efficacy such as dry matter losses, pH, lactic acid and ammonia plus stability for wholecrop and maize silages. Parameter testing shows efficacy on easy, moderate and difficult to ensile crops. Some of the inoculants, in particular the ones that only apply 100,000 bacteria per g of grass, failed to show a benefit in moderate and difficult to ensile crops.
Provita has carried out analysis of microorganisms on grass. Results have shown that some grasses in Northern Ireland can have 600,000 to 700,000 microorganisms per gram of grass naturally; this is three to seven times higher than what is considered normal. Therefore to ensure fermentation in NI conditions, a silage inoculant such as Advance+ with a guaranteed level of at least 1,000,000 bacteria per gram of grass at point of application should be used.
The EU registration system uses mini silos to compare differences between treated and untreated silages. As part of their ongoing commitment to clinical research and on-farm testing, Provita also used mini silo tests when developing Advance+. This technique means that treated and untreated silage from the same field just a few metres apart can be tested and compared.
Advance+ produces obvious benefits; as soon as the mini silo lid was opened farmers could smell the extra sugars and feel the drier crops. If these were left open for a few days the difference became even more apparent with the treated silage remaining sweet smelling and the untreated going off. Tests then carried out at various laboratories confirmed these benefits (See table 1).
Advance+ silage inoculant is a unique formulation combining EU approved lactic and acetic acid bacterial strains at a guaranteed rate of 1.2 million cfu per g of forage. Performance benefits include: +1L of milk per cow per day and +30% better growth rate. Excellent forage figures also gained: 46% less sugar, 33% less ammonia, 25% more DM and double stability time at feed out. (EU reg and in-house data)
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