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J Dairy Sci. 2018 May;101(5):4001-4019. doi: 10.3168/jds.2017-13703.

Silage review: Unique challenges of silages made in hot and cold regions.

Author information

Department of Animal Science, Federal University of Lavras, Lavras, 37200000, Brazil. Electronic address:
Department of Animal Science, State University of Maringá, Maringá, 87020900, Brazil.
Department of Animal Sciences, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611.
Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge, AB, Canada T1J 4B1.
Lallemand Specialties Inc., Milwaukee, WI 53218.
Department of Animal Science, University of São Paulo, Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture, Piracicaba, 13418900, Brazil.
Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umea, S-90183, Sweden.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Quebec Research and Development Centre, Québec, QC, Canada, G1V 2J3.
National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-0901, Japan.


Silage making can be conveniently divided into field, ensiling, storage, and feed-out phases. In all of these stages, controllable and uncontrollable components can affect silage quality. For instance, silages produced in hot or cold regions are strongly influenced by uncontrollable climate-related factors. In hot regions, crops for silage are influenced by (1) high temperatures negatively affecting corn yield (whole-crop and grain) and nutritive value, (2) butyric and alcoholic fermentations in warm-season grasses (Panicum, Brachiaria, and Pennisetum genera) and sugarcane, respectively, and (3) accelerated aerobic deterioration of silages. Ensiling expertise and economic factors that limit mechanization also impair silage production and utilization in hot environments. In cold regions, a short and cool growing season often limits the use of crops sensitive to cool temperature, such as corn. The fermentation triggered by epiphytic and inoculated microorganisms can also be functionally impaired at lower temperature. Although the use of silage inoculants has increased in Northern Europe, acid-based additives are still a good option in difficult weather conditions to ensure good fermentation quality, nutritive value, and high intake potential of silages. Acid-based additives have enhanced the quality of round bale silage, which has become a common method of forage preservation in Northern Europe. Although all abiotic factors can affect silage quality, the ambient temperature is a factor that influences all stages of silage making from production in the field to utilization at the feed bunk. This review identifies challenges and obstacles to producing silages under hot and cold conditions and discusses strategies for addressing these challenges.


silage problem; silage production; temperate crop; tropical crop

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