Dairy cows fed corn silage treated with SiloSolve® MC had significantly higher milk yields, a recent US study shows.
Conducted at the University of Florida, the controlled field study was designed to determine how dairy cow performance is affected by a diet that includes silage treated with SiloSolve® MC, a silage inoculant that contains three strains of lactic-acid bacteria.
According to Product Manager Mai-Brit Voss, lactic acid bacteria enhance silage fermentation by optimizing the ratio of lactic to acetic acid, reducing pH and limiting the growth of bacteria that cause silage to spoil.
“Spoilage microorganisms proliferate in silage when the lactic-to-acetic acid ratio is too low, and the pH is too high,” Voss explains, noting that this ratio should ideally be at least 3:1. “In this study, we observed that adding SiloSolve® MC to corn silage produced an optimal acid ratio, resulting in a 50% reduction in spoilage.”
In the study, investigators divided corn harvested at 65% moisture into two test groups: one group was treated with SiloSolve® MC (150’000 cfu/g of forage) and the other served as non-treated control. The corn was ensiled in ag-bags for 186 days.
The investigators then blocked 60 lactating Holstein cows at 30 days in milk (DIM) by parity and milk production and randomly assigned each to separate feeding gates for measurement of individual feeding. Over a 90-day period, the cows were fed a diet consisting of 35% corn silage (with or without SiloSolve® MC), 11% alfalfa hay and 54% concentrate. Milk production was recorded daily.
Compared to the untreated control, the lactic-to-acetic acid ratio was higher in the corn silage treated with SiloSolve® MC, indicating more effective fermentation (Table 1). The inoculated silage also demonstrated 50% less spoilage, indicating better overall silage quality (Table 2).
“Less spoilage means better quality — and better quality forage promotes better dairy cow performance.”
Compared to cows fed untreated silage, cows fed inoculated silage showed a significant 2.4% increase in milk production (Figure 1), as well as an improved ratio of fat-corrected milk (FCM) to dry-matter intake (DMI) (Figure 2).
“The higher FCM:DMI ratio translates to more milk with less dry matter — which means a better utilization of the forage,” Voss concludes. “At the end of the day, better quality and utilization of silage means better returns for the producer.”