Type a word to start your search


New silage manufacturing technique to reduce crop losses and improve silage quality

Forages are an integral part of the diet of dairy cows and are often the backbone of an efficient and profitable dairy farm. For successful storage of forages as silage, harvested material should be wilted, reducing its dry matter (DM) content from 20% to a value that depends on the type of storage. In the field, this wilting is carried out by spreading the freshly mown fodder, conditioning it and / or turning it in a swath, a process which takes between 24 and 48 hours and which exposes it to the vagaries of the weather. Inevitable losses occur during wilting of harvested fodder; soluble carbohydrates are lost due to plant respiration, and part of plant protein is converted to non-protein nitrogen. In addition, wilting in the field exposes forages to physical loss of DM and damage from rain, fungal growth and potential development of mycotoxins. These losses are exacerbated when climatic conditions are unfavorable for the production of silage, for example at the beginning or at the end of the season, when wet and cool climatic conditions prevail.

We propose to determine the minimum wilting period required as well as the type and minimum quantity of kernels (e.g. corn, barley, oats) and / or by-products (e.g. wheat bran, soy hull, wheat spent grain, corn spent grain) to be added in various forms (e.g. ground, rolled) to fresh cut forages (e.g. grasses, legumes) in order to ensile faster and make silage at 30-35% DM . The addition of grains / by-products will increase the DM and fermentable carbohydrate content of the mixture and allow the forage to be ensiled directly, or at least very quickly, after mowing. This new type of mixed silage could be served alone or with hay and / or corn, grass or legume silage ensuring that the starch content of the ration does not exceed recommended limits. This new approach will minimize losses associated with post-harvest treatment of fodder and may represent a potentially more environmentally friendly substitute for corn silage. To our knowledge, no previous study has been published to validate the proposed solution. Application rates of 50-75 kg ground grain / tonne forage have been suggested in the past (Gervais, unpublished data) but never published. Therefore, we propose several studies that will compare the fermentation profile, nutritional value, aerobic stability and ruminal fermentation in vitro (gas production, microbial protein synthesis and degradabilities of organic matter, insoluble fiber to neutral detergent and starch) silage made from wilted fodder or freshly mown fodder with the addition of grains/by-products.

Edith Charbonneau

Professeure titulaire
Université Laval

CRIBIQ's contribution

$ 110 870


Industrial participants :


*Quebec public research institutes :

Université Laval
Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada