Farming News - Maximise your maize harvest & avoid expensive bought-in feed this winter

Maximise your maize harvest & avoid expensive bought-in feed this winter

01 Oct 2021
Agronomy / Frontdesk / Arable

Making sure this year’s maize silage is the best quality possible could help minimise the need for expensive bought-in feed this winter and play a key role in helping elevate pressure on already-tight margins.

Despite a slow start, it’s been a good year for maize, and the unusually hot September is finishing crops well. Dry matter contents have increased faster than usual at this time of year and, in some cases, farmers will be surprised how dry their silage is when cut, with dry matter over 35% easily possible.

However, high DM levels make crops susceptible to aerobic instability, leading to poor fermentation and loss of valuable dry matter. Inefficient fermentation also erodes sugar from the silage – leaving it lower in both DM and sugar than necessary.

“It’s important to reap the gains from a good growing season and preserve silage quality for the winter months,” explains Pioneer seeds and inoculants manager, Andy Stainthorpe.

“Applying an effective silage inoculant is one way to help manage silage quality and retain a crop’s nutrient and dry matter content, resulting in lower energy and dry matter losses.”

“It’s important you really understand the factors that might hold back your maize silage, and choose an inoculant right for your circumstances, including the intended end use,” continues Andy. “Whether that’s maize ensiled for use in anaerobic digesters, that would benefit from significantly increasing methane, or silage for high-performing dairy cows where additives containing a Lactobacillus buchneri strain can improve fibre digestibility and reduce aerobic spoilage.

“For maize silage expected to have a very high dry matter content, and where aerobic instability is a key concern, Pioneer Brand 11A44 is the ideal choice. Rather than improve silage fermentation quality, 11A44 concentrates on improving silage aerobic stability,” advises Andy. “If you are likely to open your clamp soon after ensiling, 11C33 RR is better. As well as causing rapid and more extensive fermentation, it contains a faster strain of Lactobacillus buchneri, accelerating silage stability leaving it ready for use in just a week or so.”

“11CFT is the best choice where the highest possible quality of maize silage is sought. This inoculant contains a strain of Lactobacillus buchneri, unique to the Pioneer Brand, that produces an enzyme called Ferulate esterase. This enzyme breaks the bonds between lignin and cell walls making the cell wall and cell wall contents more accessible.  So, as well as improving the quality of the acid fermentation and aerobic stability, 11CFT provides a further boost to the fibre digestibility of treated silage” Andy concludes.

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