Making quality silage with lactic acid bacterial starter culture

In response to increasing demand for animal feed in livestock sector, significant progress has been made in the improvement of forage crops in Thailand.  Fast-growing and high-yield varieties of forage cane and napier grass have already been developed by BIOTEC-Kasetsart University and the Department of Livestock Development, respectively. 

However, feed shortage still persists during the dry season. To solve this problem, the concept of using starter culture for ensilaging green fodder was introduced. Fast-growing lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were screened locally from the natural environment and used as starter culture to ensilage forage cane and napier grass when forages are high in quantity. Not only that the starter culture could speed up the fermentation process, the silage produced from starter culture technology is of higher quality and can be preserved for a longer period of time compared to naturally-fermented silage. This technology thus enables farmers to stockpile high-quality feed into the dry season.

Characteristics of silage produced from starter culture technology compared to suggested value
 Characteristics  Suggested value for high quality silage  forage cane silage napier grass silage 
pH <4.2  3.64  4.12
Proportion of total acid      
 - Lactic acid >60% 86.52% 75.43%
 - Acetic acid < 25% 5.43%  24.57% 
 - Butyric acid < 5% 0% 0%
 

This technology has been disseminated to livestock farmers at the 2015 National Dairy Fair.

 

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 Posted on 5 February 2015

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