Step 4. Treating
Why you shouldn’t just think of an additive as a forage preservative.
Simple. Because trials across a range of forages have shown that treating with a proven additive – in this case the MTD/1 strain of Lactobacillus plantarum in Ecosyl – can do much more:
More silage recovered – from what was put in the clamp.
Across 15 grass silage trials, dry matter recovery with MTD/1 was boosted from 91.8% to 95.5% of the original material ensiled.
TOP TIP: Choose a silage inoculant that reduces dry matter losses and enhances milk production, that has good digestibility and palatability and is easy to use, liquid or dry.
If 1,000 tonnes of DM were originally clamped, that would equate to an extra 37 tonnes back. If silage is worth £30/t, that’s an extra £1,110 return. That alone would go a long way to paying for the additive.
Better silage quality
However, in addition to that, across various trials it has also been shown to:
- Improve silage metabolisable energy by an average of 0.7 MJ/kgDM
- Improve silage digestibility by an average of 3 D units
- Improve dry matter intakes by an average of 5%
Extra milk yield
Most importantly, MTD/1-treated silage has been shown to improve milk yield by an average of an extra 1.2 litres per cow per day (15 trials, various forages).
If you assume 200 days of feeding silage, based on that extra 1.2 litres of milk produced per cow per day, that’s an extra 240 litres. At 20 pence per litre, that’s an extra £48 worth of milk per cow.
Cost-wise, if that cow eats 10 tonnes of silage over winter, the cost of additive for those 10 tonnes would be around £13.
In other words, a £48 return for a £13 investment.
That’s well worth thinking about if you want to produce more milk from what you grow, and rely less on purchased feed.