One of the problems with silage this winter has been the acid level. Silages with a pH of 3.5 have not been uncommon and this causes big problems with keeping stock both healthy and productive. Wet silages are nearly always more acidic than dry but we have come across the occasional low pH in mid-range dry matters.

To combat this problem we have been advising a variety of remedies depending on the practicalities of the situation. Adding straw to the ration can be a solution. Ideally this wants to be chopped to between 2 and 3 inches for good mixing with the forage.

On some farms feeding a buffer has worked well. Either sodium bicarbonate or acid-buf will act to neutralise the acidity. Alternatively, feeding Actisaf yeast can buffer the acidity but will also help with fibre digestion if the silage is stemmy as well as wet.

In some cases, reducing the starch level of the overall diet has helped production. High levels of very fizzy starch products such as bread or milled wheat can make the problem of acidity even worse. Lower levels of inclusion or changing to slower digestible sources such as rolled barley or rolled maize will help.

In the longer term it pays to use PENTOGUARD silage additive. This product contains Lactobacillus Buccneri rather than Lactobacilllus Plantarum found in many other additives. This different bacterium has given a more consistent end product with no extreme drop in pH on any of the silages treated. Together with other products to deter spoilage at feeding, we have found silages treated with PENTOGUARD have been consistently stable in the three years that we have been selling this product.
To discuss your diets or to find out more about PENTOGUARD silage additive give me a call.

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