Q&A: How can I manage very wet forages?

The dry matter (DM) of the forage is instrumental in defining the treatment, harvest methodology and compaction.

When below 30% DM there is a significant likelihood of producing effluent, the wetter the forage, the greater the risk of effluent production. Effluent is an issue because it contains protein, energy in the form of sugar etc. This reduces the feed value of the forage, as well as being environmentally challenging because of its high acidity and oxygen demand and it also saturates the base of the bunker and creates an ideal environment for the growth of clostridia and other spoilage organisms. As such, you should always try to wilt to 30% DM if possible. As the DM of the forage increases then the amount of effluent that will be produced per ton of forage decreases. If not possible, then at harvest you should do everything practical to reduce effluent production such as:

  • use sharp knives
  • set for long chop length
  • do not overcompact the silage at ensiling. Train wheel compactors should not be used under 30% DM
  • if DM is below 25% –  ensile in thicker than normal layers, but take care not to build the bunker/pile too high as ‘slippage’ of the silage can occur
  • use a challenge-specific inoculant
Lallemand Animal Nutrition does not purport, in this guide or in any other publication, to specify minimum safety or legal standards or to address all of the compliance requirements, risks, or safety problems associated with working on or around farms. This guide is intended to serve only as a beginning point for information and should not be construed as containing all the necessary compliance, safety, or warning information, nor should it be construed as representing the policy of Lallemand Animal Nutrition. No warranty, guarantee, or representation is made by Lallemand Animal Nutrition as to the accuracy or sufficiency of the information and guidelines contained herein, and Lallemand Animal Nutrition assumes no liability or responsibility in connection therewith. It is the responsibility of the users of this guide to consult and comply with pertinent local, state, and federal laws, regulations, and safety standards.

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