- To preserve the fodder in the green succulent form at low pH under anaerobic condition to microbes is called silage.
The specialized device or container used for preparation of silage is called silo. The silo is:
- Pile – In this type of silo there is no need of construction. Only a pile of chopped fodder is made on a ground and it is pressed with the help of tractor. This type of silo is recommended for short term preservation of fodder.
Long Silage Bag
- This type of silo consists of long stretchable bag. After proper filling and compaction, the end of bag is closed.
- These are long vertical silo of steel or concrete
- Silage Bunker is most commonly used type of silo. This is rectangular structure which is open from one side or both sides. On both sides of walls of wood, steel, concrete are constructed. Dimensions of bunker depend upon the amount of fodder to be stored.
- In this type of silo, a pit is constructed in ground. It may be rectangular or cylindrical
Site Selection for Silage
- Site should be easily approachable from fields as well as dairy farm
- The area should not be low lying because such type of areas are prone to water logging
- The chaffing shed should be adjacent to the site
- It should be away from residential area
- Tractor should easily reach the site
- It should be 60 meters away from water pond etc.
- Trees should not be around
Steps in the Preparation of Good Silage
- Selection of Fodder:
There should be adequate amount of fermentable carbohydrates and more than 65% moisture in fodder selected for silage making. Commonly used fodder for silage making are maize, sorghum, millet, oat, and sorghum Sudan grass
Harvesting and Chopping of Fodder:
- Crop should be harvested at the stage when there are maximum nutrients present in crop and 65-70% moisture content. In case of maize moisture reaches this level when:
- Color of Lower leaves of plant starts changing to light green
- Husk’s color is from green to light green
- Kernel has visible dent
- There is 40-50% moisture in grain
- Kernel Milk line is 50%
Filling of Silage
- After chopping and adding additives silo is filled.
- Inside silo chopped fodder should be compressed with tractor or some other means so that it is packed tightly and there is no air left.
- If air left anaerobic condition will not be created.
- In case of baled silage, silage baler makes bale in well compacted form.
Sealing of Silage
- The air tight sealing is necessary to avoid the entrance of air in the silo.
- So after filling of silo, cover it with polythene sheet and put tires or sand filled bags over it or cover it with mud.
- It is better to cut tires in small circular pieces for maximum usage.
- In case of baled silage baler automatically wrap the bale with wrapper.
Removal of Silage
- After a period of 40-45 days the silage is ready for feeding to the livestock.
- After the removal of silage the open end of the silo should be covered in such a manner that contact with the air is minimum
Advantages of Silage Making
- Surplus green fodder abundantly available can be preserved as silage for feeding during lean season
- The organic acids produced in the silage are similar to those normally produced in the digestive tract of the ruminants; so digestibility of fodder increases
- It eliminates wastage of the less favoured parts of the fresh fodder like stem because the animals consume entire plant.
- It is highly palatable
- It cannot be destroyed by fire
- It provides succulent feed particularly during dry periods, when the vegetation growth is dormant.
- It is more economical as compared to cut-and-carry prevailing system.
Quality of Silage
- Good silage should have milk
- Pleasant aroma, an acid taste and a slightly greenish color
- It should be free from sliminess and mold and have sufficient acid to prevent further action of microorganisms