Q&A: Why there are different colour layers in the silage bunker?

We often get asked what causes different coloured layers in some bunkers. There are several possible reasons. It can occur due to spoilage in certain areas of the bunker or the difference between forages taken from different fields.

In the case shown on the image on the right, the layering difference is due to two different cuts of grass taken from different fields. One field contained a ley that was five years old and due for renewing while the second field contained a new ley which was cut earlier. There was nothing inherently wrong with the silage quality or bunker management.

In general, the colour of silage can vary depending on the material ensiled. For grass, cereal and corn silage, the colour ranges from light green to light brown or golden brown.

Dark brown or black areas usually indicate that heating has occurred.  Very dark olive green can be a sign for weather damaged (rain ingression) or very wet silage with poor fermentation characteristics.

Another way to evaluate the quality of silage is to check its aroma. 

It is important to mention that color and aroma evaluations are subjective, and for more objective assessment, we recommend a silage analysis is conducted.

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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