Introduction to Silage Making

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This documents is brief intro on Making silage.
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    Introduction to Silage Making This is just a brief guide for silage making. Hopeyou like it as you all responded very well on myprevious articles as well. Dr. Malik Muhammad Ali Maxim International Pvt. Ltd.    Silage preparation Silage preparation is one of the important methods for storage of green fodder for dairy animals & it isnecessary to adopt this method by Indian dairy farmers on large scale in situations like drought or heavyrainfall or scarcity of fodder. What is silage making? Silage making means preservation of chaffed cereal green fodder in anaerobic condition by way of fermentation method. In anaerobic condition (no air inside pit/bunker),with the help of microorganisms, sugar contained in green fodder is converted in to Lactic acid ,which help to preserve thegreen fodder for longer duration. Respiratory function of living cells present in green chaffed fodderutilizes Oxygen in air tight condition, releases water & carbon dioxide in closed environment inpit/bunker. Due to Carbon dioxide releases in pit/bunker, air inside is expelled outside as well asorganism which depends on oxygen (Like bacteria & Fungi) cannot withstand in CO 2 atmosphere inTank/Bunker. These effects in to preservation of chaffed green fodder in silo pit/bunker as silage forlonger duration (6 months or a year if good care is taken). Essential fodder crops for silage making To prepare best quality silage, cereal green fodder like Green fodder maize, Fodder sorghum, Bajara,Hybrid Napier, Sugar cane tops, Oats, wheat etc are required. Preference for cereal green fodder(monocotyledons) is due to it has more sugar content than protein, as sugar is utilized in fermentationprocess to make lactic acid by microorganisms. These cereal fodder crops have hard stem, which takesmore time for drying in making hay of these crops, so it is better to use these kinds of crops for makingsilage than hay.  Benefits of silage making Following are few of Benefits of Making silage:1.   Silage is storage system of green fodder which keeps all parts of fodder in appropriate conditionfor feeding than any other system of storage of fodder.2.   Silage requires less space for storage as it is pressed in pit/bunker than hay making.3.   For daily cutting, transporting & chaffing of fodder in traditional way requires more labor & timebut in case of silage, fodder cutting, transport, chaffing is done at one time only, so it is lesslabor & time consuming practice.4.   Land under fodder cultivation is emptied, and immediately it is used for plantation of othercrops. So farmers’ can take more crops in same land in a year against traditional way where land is reserved for fodder until all crops is harvested.5.   Silage is prepared in closed & air tight condition so there is no danger of fire. (In hay making, dryfodder is stocked & exposed for fire like situation)6.   Due to lactic acid in silage, it is easily digestible to animals, so energy required for digestion isused for other purposes like milk production.etc.7.   Silage is tasty & flavored, so it increases appetite of dairy animals.8.   Important thing behind to adopt silage is in scarcity it provide supply of fodder to dairy animals.Situations like drought, high rainfall & scarcity of fodder, farmers may use silage for feeding todairy animals. (Rain fed area where shortage of green fodder is for March to June & in high rainyarea or water logged lands, it is impossible to cultivate or harvest fodder) Planning for silage making There are two methods for silage making which are vastly used i.e. Pit method or bunker method. Thesetwo methods are economically viable for dairy farmers.For planning of silage, following aspects needs to pay attention:How many dairy animals farmer’s have?How many days farmer’s have to feed animals with silage? Is sufficient green fodder is available with farmer to prepare required silage?On the above points, decide to plan for silage making, there is example for you :One dairy farmer has four adult milching dairy animals. He has to plan for silage for four summermonths (i.e. March to June), so go through following points.1.   There are four milking dairy animals Farmers have to make silage for four months i.e. 120 days.2.   Maximum per day feeing of silage is 28 kg per animal so per day feeding for four animals as 112kg.3.   So for four months i.e. 120 days for four animals requirement of silage is 13440 kg.  4.   This means 13440 kg of chaffed green fodder is required for making silage for four dairy animalsfor four months.5.   In one cubic foot in pit or bunker (1 cubic foot = 1 foot long × 1 foot wide × 1 foot high), contains20 kg of chaffed green fodder. To decide dimension of pit/bunker for 13440 kg chaffed greenfodder ,you may divide it with 20 kg, so you may have to make 672 cubic feet of pit/bunker as22.5 foot long × 6 foot wide × 5 foot high. Pit/Bunker method for silage making (Read my Previous article as well) Depending upon local situations like:1.   Ground water level2.   Number of animals3.   Duration of feeding silage to animalsWe decide shape & size of constructing pit/bunker for silage making. For pit method, select location formaking pit at higher level on ground so that rain water may not percolate in to pit. In rectangular pit,corner edges should be making round so that while filling & pressing chaffed fodder, air will not remaininside in the corners of pit or tank. Wall of pit/bunker should be air proof to avoid air too come inside inpit /bunker through cracks or crevices .To avoid this situation, plaster wall of silo pit or bunker withcement or moistened soil. If ground water level is nearer, then go for building tank for silage makingthan pit method. If plastering cement to the wall of pit/tank is uneconomical, then you may use HDPEplastic paper (200 micron) to cover pit/bunker inside out position. Treatment for Silage For making best quality & balanced silage, we donot need much of additives but inoculants do improvefollowing:1.   Decrease storage time.2.   Less mould growth.   3.   Better pH control.   4.   Efficient fermentations.   5.   Etc etc.   But do need proper treatment of additives if you use mature fodder or fodder without grains.One of my recipes is:
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