Ask the Quality Silage Experts: Inoculant Production Standards
April 2, 2020
Q. How can I trust that my forage inoculant is a high-quality product?
A. Bacterial forage inoculants should contain dried, viable microorganisms that are sensitive to heat, moisture and air. The production methods of forage inoculants are absolutely critical to getting all the benefits of the bacterial inoculant product.
Before choosing a forage inoculant, keep the following criteria in mind:
Product approval: The product must be approved in the country of use.
Data to support claims: The manufacturer should provide data for the specific product in the target crop. Ideally, the research should be conducted at independent research facilities to verify the claims. Any trials should validate the inoculant used at the application rate on the product label.
Strain specificity: Each strain has its own genetic identity and commercial strains are registered with unique strain numbers; for example, Lactobacillus buchneri NCIMB 40788. Strains from one company to the next cannot be expected to perform in the same way.
Production quality: Forage inoculants should be produced and packaged under accredited manufacturing conditions. For an inside look at how Lallemand forage inoculants are produced, watch this video.
Product packaging: Inoculants contain dried viable bacteria that are sensitive to heat, moisture and air. Packaging design must prevent exposure to these elements. The use of high-barrier foils is one common approach.
Shelf life and storage conditions: Store inoculant according to indications on the product packaging through every stage of distribution — including while at the manufacturer, retailer, during delivery and on site at your operation.
Product technology in the application tank or hopper: Over time, bacteria viability after dilution depends on the formulation and technology. The product should stay in suspension after dilution to prevent uneven application.
Technical support: Look for manufacturers that go the extra mile and provide product support should any challenges arise.