Silage is fermented, high-moisture fodder that can be fed to ruminants (cud-chewing animals like cattle and sheep) or used as a biofuel feedstock for anaerobic digesters. It is fermented and stored in a process called ensilage (or silaging) and usually made from grass crops, including corn (maize) or sorghum or other cereals, using the entire green plant (not just the grain). Silage can be made from many field crops.
Silage is made either by placing cut green vegetation in a silo, or by piling it in a large heap covered with plastic sheet, or by wrapping large bales in plastic film.
Silage undergoes anaerobic fermentation, which starts about 48 hours after the silo is filled. The process converts sugars to acids and exhausts any oxygen present in the crop material. Fermentation is essentially complete after about two weeks. Silage inoculants contain one or more strains of lactic acid bacteria.
The fermentation process of silo or pit silage releases liquid. Silo effluent contains nitric acid (HNO3), which is corrosive. It can also contaminate water courses unless collected and treated – the high nutrient content can lead to eutrophication (growth of bacterial or algal blooms).
In practical terms, it cannot be guaranteed that visually sound silage does not contain mycotoxins as these substances are odourless and invisible. If silage shows spoilage symptoms, it should not be fed to animals to prevent the occurrence of mycotoxicoses, as there is a high probability of mycotoxin contamination in these cases. Instead, it is strongly recommended to discard spoiled silage.
ROA, unlike the chemicals used in forage business,
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