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J Dairy Sci. 2018 May;101(5):3952-3979. doi: 10.3168/jds.2017-13837.

Silage review: Factors affecting dry matter and quality losses in silages.

Author information

1
Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA), University of Turin, Largo P. Braccini 2, 10095, Grugliasco (Turin), Italy. Electronic address: giorgio.borreani@unito.it.
2
Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (DISAFA), University of Turin, Largo P. Braccini 2, 10095, Grugliasco (Turin), Italy.
3
Lallemand Animal Nutrition, Milwaukee, WI 53218.
4
Retired, Biological Systems Engineering Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.
5
Retired, USDA, Agricultural Research Service, US Dairy Forage Research Center, Madison, WI 53706.

Abstract

An overview was made of dry matter (DM) and quality losses that occur during the ensiling process from the field through the feeding phase. The aim was to review the relevant published literature of the last 15 yr focusing on developments achieved after the publication of the book Silage Science and Technology. This review discusses the factors affecting DM and quality losses in terms of field and pre-ensiling conditions, respiration and temperature at ensiling, fermentation patterns, methods of covering and weighting the silage cover, and management of aerobic deterioration. The possibility of reducing DM and quality losses during the ensiling process requires knowledge of how to measure losses on farm and establish the status of the silage during the feed-out phase, implementing the most effective management practices to avoid air exposure during conservation and reduce silage aerobic deterioration during feeding. The paper concludes with future perspectives and recommended management practices to reduce losses and increase efficiency over the whole ensiling process in view of increasing sustainability of the livestock production chain.

KEYWORDS:

aerobic deterioration; dry matter loss; fermentation; respiration; silage management

PMID:
29685272
DOI:
10.3168/jds.2017-13837
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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