Maize Silage

Maize Silage

Maize silage is basically made out of whole ensiled maize plants. It is considered one of the most valuable forages for cows and it is used wherever maize can be grown. It is also one of the most popular cereal crop conserved as silage.

Method of Preservation

The method of preservation for maize silage is the same as grass. The crop is fermented in order to produce lactic acid, causing lower pH which preserves the forage as well as prevents the growth of spoilage organisms.

Maize should be ensiled at approximately 32 - 35% DM. It is easy to ferment due to high DM and sugar contents, along with low buffering capacity. An inoculant can help to reduce the fermentation losses and in some cases increase the animal performance benefits.

However, one of the biggest issue with maize silage is its susceptibility to aerobic spoilage. Therefore, it is encouraged to apply additives that are able to deal with this. The additives may contain chemical preservatives, specific bacteria or plant extracts where they are all designed to help inhibit yeasts and moulds during ensiling as well as feed-out.

Advantages:

  • High DM and energy

  • Very easy to ferment

  • Has the ability to increase DM intake as well as milk yield

  • Only one harvast per year

  • Compliments glass silage very well

Disadvantages:

  • May not be suitable for wet or cold weathers

  • Low in protein and fibre

  • Due to high DM and starch levels, it is susceptible to aerobic spoilage

  • Will reduce milk fat if fed too much

  • Low in calcium, phosphorus and sodium