Maize silage ensiling tips

Maize ensiling tips.png

Along with using a Magniva crop and condition-specific inoculant, making sure you pay attention to detail
when ensiling can help maintain a high-quality forage throughout the storage period.

Kernel processing​


Kernel processing evaluation
When ensiling forage maize, it is important that the kernels are processed properly.
If they are not, the resulting ensiled forage will not be as rumen digestible.
Make sure that 90% of the kernels are broken into at least four pieces.
To test this, get a bucket of water and put a handful of the chopped forage into this,
stir and leave to settle. Scoop off all the fibrous bits at the top,
all the grain will have sunk to the bottom.
Now you can assess how well processed the grains are.
The more surface area of the starch you expose the more easily digestible it will be in the rumen.


Because of the lower leaf to stem ratio in maize compared to other crops, it can be harder to compact.
By shortening the chop length to 15-20mm, the compaction will be easier, and you can also spend
longer compacting maize – under normal circumstances it can’t be over compacted.


How long should I leave it in the clamp?​

If the maize crop is harvested at a mature stage when it’s quite dry, after ensiling the starch digestibility
will increase over time as the prolamin in the grain is broken down. Therefore, if it’s possible on your
farm to leave the silage in the clamp for at least three months and up to six months before feeding,
the starch digestibility will have reached its full nutritional potential.
It’s not always practical to do this, so if you do ensile a mature crop and have to open the clamp
before this time, analyse the forage on a monthly basis and update your nutritionist of the starch digestibility as it will change over time.

For more top tips for making maize silage why not take a look at our video:

Using a crop specific inoculant for maize silage

Typical losses in the production and feeding of maize silage are around 15% with the biggest challenge being aerobic stability.
This is because the stem of the plant has a high amount of lignin, which gives the plant structural integrity, and the centre of the stem is very spongy.

Both factors make maize more difficult to compact, meaning there’s more potential for residual oxygen in the clamp,
allowing yeast to stay active for longer during the start of the fermentation process. When the clamp is opened,
oxygen will penetrate faster, re-activating the yeasts and leading to aerobic spoilage and wasted silage.

Wastage through aerobic spoilage can be a big problem once the clamp is open, especially if it is crossed slowly
(buffer feeding situations or very large clamps). Using a stability enhancing inoculant, farmers can
take control of maize silage quality from the ensiling to feedout.

Magniva Platinum Maize contains two heterofermentative bacteria, Lactobacillus hilgardii CNCM I-4785
and Lactobacillus buchneri NCIMB 40788, which help reduce DM losses, yeast and mould presence,
and lowers pH, which all leads to an enhanced nutritional value.

Magniva Platinum Maize Elite contains the same heterofermentative bacteria as well as acidifying bacteria and
specific enzymes which help promote a lactic acid fermentation under challenging conditions.


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HSENI names new farm safety champions

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) alongside the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP), has named new farm safety champions and commended the outstanding work on farm safety that has been carried out in the farming community in the last 20 years.

Two of these champions are Malcom Downey, retired principal inspector for the Agri/Food team in HSENI and Harry Sinclair, current chair of the Farm Safety Partnership and former president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

Improving farm safety is the key aim of HSENI’s and the FSP’s work and...