With current prices many farmers will be asking the questions of every ingredient supplier do I need this, will it work and what benefit if any will it give me.
With silage inoculants it can be difficult to see the promised benefits on farm as each year, cut, field and farm is different.
One of the ways these questions can be answered is by farmers themselves making their own mini-silo tests. These can be used to assess treated verses untreated or one brand verses another.
To do this you need to choose a part of a field where grass growth is consistent. For one row switch the applicator off at the start of the row, then when the designated point is reached direct the harvester spout to put 2 meters of grass onto the field. Then put the fresh grass or crop into an airtight uv resistant 20kg bucket, Provita can supply these. The grass should be pressed in and then the lid closed tight, three samples should made.
On the next row switch the applicator on to apply the inoculant and repeat the process.
After four weeks (can be earlier) the samples can be opened and your grass will have turned into silage.
You can then take a sample from the middle of both buckets and send to your usual silage analysis lab and see is their any difference.
However if your silage inoculant is very effective you should physically see and smell a big difference between the treated and untreated samples, e.g. Advance+ treated silage is drier, sweeter and a more golden colour. The difference will become even more obvious if they are left open for a few days.
This is the fairest way to answer the questions posed at the beginning of this article as the grass will be taken from a few meters apart and will be ensiled in the exact same conditions.
For more information on mini-silo tests call Tommy Armstrong on 07720101444.