Proven, tested inoculants that work

Proven, tested inoculants that work

24 September 2019

A kind winter and a warm wet spring has left many farmers with surplus grass needing to be made into high-quality silage.

For some farmers, high-quality grass silage is what they make every year but, for others, it’s more of a challenge. So what are the secrets to producing excellent grass silage?

  1. It pays to have great grass in the first place. While silage is never better quality than the grass it was made from, good grass will produce good silage. This means making sure the grass isn’t too long when it is cut, is not wilted too long (or not long enough) and soil contamination is kept to a minimum.
  2. It pays to use a tested, proven, product-specific inoculant backed by a great team. Pioneer Brand 1127 and 1174 inoculants are just that, tested and proven. Independent published trials have shown cows fed grass silage treated with Pioneer 1127 grass-specific inoculant produced 30 litres (l) more milk per tonne of silage dry matter, giving a return of around $4.54 for every dollar invested (see Fig 1).
    Proven, tested inoculants that work

    Fig 1. Return for Pioneer Brand 1127 vs Control


  3. Ensure stacks/bales are well-compacted to keep air out. Air and cut grass make compost – not ideal! Getting air out of the grass as quickly as possible means the bugs that make acid do their job quicker and more efficiently. This means less energy lost from the stack or bale and therefore more energy for milk and meat production.
  4. Keep the air out with a high-quality cover/bale wrap. Making sure air stays out of the stack is essential to ensuring energy stays inside and ends up getting fed to the cows. A high-quality silage cover is critical to this.

Proven, supported inoculants: There are many companies selling inoculants to dairy farmers. Unfortunately, many inoculants have no data to show their claims are backed by solid science. Some companies try and piggyback on the claims of others by saying they have used the same bacteria (e.g. Lactobacillus plantarum). BUT just as no two bulls are the same, no two strains of bacteria are the same. Pioneer has two inoculants with patented strains of bacteria; 1127 grass-specific inoculant and 1174 multi-purpose inoculant.

Pioneer Brand 1127 contains grass-specific bacteria which are some of the most efficient converters of sugar into lactic acid on the grass market. As mentioned, this means more milk and more money. In fact, at a $6.75 per kilogram (kg) of milk solid (MS) price, the data shows a return of $4.54 for every dollar spent.

Although not as efficient on grass as 1127, Pioneer Brand 1174 is an excellent option for the price-sensitive farmer. This multi-crop inoculant is suitable for use on all types of silage including pasture, cereal and lucerne silage. Pioneer 1174 helps improve fermentation, retain nutrient content and enhance digestibility.

For more information on the right inoculant for this grass silage season, contact your local Farm Source TSR.

*Assumptions: $6.75/kgMS

Source: Dry matter recovery is based on 8 pasture silage trials conducted at independent European research stations that were submitted to the official German silage additive approval scheme.

Milk production per tonne of pasture silage fed is based on three independent dairy trials. W. Vaitikunas (1992), Ph.D thesis University Göttingen, Germany; Yan and Patterson (1995), Contract research report Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland

Article supplied by Pioneer brand products