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Tips on choosing the right inoculant for your silage

Ray McLaughlin, Key Account Manager, Chr. Hansen


December 2020








Decisions, decisions

If you have ever been involved in selecting a health care plan for your family, you probably had several options to choose from. For example, your provider probably had options with different deductibles, individual versus family plans, and different coverage levels. You probably considered family members and their ages, as well as current health concerns, medications, etc., before deciding which plan was right for your situation.


The same kind of decision-making process might also be applied when determining which inoculant to use for your forages. At Chr. Hansen, our SILOSOLVE® portfolio offers several different silage inoculants to choose from in order to meet your specific needs and address your particular challenges. Similar to choosing a health care plan, you will want to consider your own unique situation and choose the products that best addresses your needs at an appropriate price.

Silage inoculant bacteria are usually broken into two categories: homo-fermentative and hetero-fermentative. There are products on the market that contain either or both of these types of bacteria. Most silage inoculants contain bacteria that prefer an oxygen-free environment to grow. However, at Chr. Hansen, our scientists have discovered a unique, oxygen scavenging lactic acid bacteria (LAB) featured in SILOSOLVE® FC, which can grow with or without oxygen.


The SILOSOLVE® portfolioSILOSOLVE® FC:

  • Contains both hetero-fermentative and homo-fermentative bacteria

  • Features an oxygen scavenging lactic acid bacteria (LAB)

  • Ferments silage to result in a low terminal pH

  • Speeds up fermentation

  • Preserves dry matter

  • Inhibits spoilage organisms

  • Contains L. buchneri which inhibits the growth of mold and yeast

  • Improves aerobic stability

SILOSOLVE® MC:

  • Homo-fermentative

  • Contains 3 different strains of LAB

  • Features a fast start to fermentation

  • Ferments silage to result in a low terminal pH

  • Preserves dry matter

  • Contains a strain of LAB that can inhibit the growth of certain bacterial such as Clostridium

SILOSOLVE® AS:

  • Contains both hetero-fermentative and homo-fermentative bacteria

  • Features a fast start to fermentation

  • Preserves dry matter

  • Has a low pH

  • Contains L. buchneri which inhibits the growth of mold and yeast

  • Improves aerobic stability

Choose the right product for your situation

Having different options from which to choose might seem confusing at first, but these different options give you the opportunity to choose the best product to meet your needs and give you the best return on your investment.


Deciding which inoculant to use should be based on the specific challenges or management factors: packing density (porosity), moisture at harvest, feed out rate, and length of fermentation. Some of the challenges you might consider are: yeast, mold, bacteria (such as Clostridium), poor fermentation (such as high butyric acid), and aerobic stability problems at feed-out.Deciding factorsFollowing are six simple questions to consider when selecting your SILOSOLVE inoculant:


1. What is the expected dry matter of your silage?

a. <33% (<35% for haylage) = SILOSOLVE MC

b. 33% - 38% (35% - 40% for haylage) = SILOSOLVE FC orSILOSOLVE AS

c. >38% (>40% for haylage = SILOSOLVE FC


2. What is the average dry matter density per cubic foot of silage?

a. Less than 18 lbs = SILOSOLVE FC

b. Greater than or equal to 18 lbs = any SILOSOLVE product


3. What is your feed-out rate?

a. Less than 12 inches per day = SILOSOLVE FC

b. Greater than or equal to 12 inches per day = any SILOSOLVE product


4. Are you concerned about challenges with yeast and molds?

a. Yes = SILOSOLVE FC orSILOSOLVE AS

b. No = SILOSOLVE MC


5. Are you concerned about challenges with butyric acid levels being too high?

a. Yes = SILOSOLVE MC

b. No = SILOSOLVE FC or SILOSOLVE AS


6. Will you start to feed this silage less than 45 days of ensiling it?

a. Yes = SILOSOLVE FC

b. No = SILOSOLVE MC orSILOSOLVE AS


Review your answers for each crop or storage unit of silage and choose the inoculant that your circled most often. If your choices were split between SILOSOLVE AS and SILOSOLVE MC, trend toward SILOSOLVE AS for corn silage and toward SILOSOLVE MC for haylages.


For high moisture grains, such as earlage, snaplage, and high moisture corn, always use SILOSOLVE FC.


Following these guidelines will help you maintain quality, minimize nutrient losses during storage and feed-out, enhance feed intake, and optimize the performance of your dairy and beef cattle.