The contribution of livestock in national GDP in year 2014-15 is 11.8% while it contributes
56.3% to agriculture. Fodder is an important factor in various farming systems as it is necessary
for the normal functioning of livestock and without this animal survival is very difficult. Its
demand is now increasing day by day so farmers grow multi-cut fodder like barseem, lucerne,
sorghum, maize and millet. Now a days weather is tremendously changing, no one can predict
its schedule accurately. So harsh weather conditions like severe cold and fog are disturbing the
normal growth of fodder thats why its production is decreasing. Farmers are facing problems in
managing the fodder for their animals. So to overcome this shortage of fodder, silage is best
option for animals feed. Any green plant material that undergoes fermentation in silo is known as
silage. Silo is a large structure for storage in which green forage is stored and fermented. This
process is known as ensilage.
Qualities of good silage
Light brownish color is an indicator of good silage. It has bitter taste and little smell due to its
acidic contents. Lactic acid is commonly present in it. In the absence of oxygen it can be kept
safe for years. For proper fermentation, crop should be at such stage that it has maximum
carbohydrates contents and moisture level should be very low.
Why silage is more preferable for feeding livestock?

Commonly fodder is used as a best feed for livestock but in the periods of fodder shortage there



must be some another source of feed for livestock. Among those sources silage is the best option



because it is nutritious, containing essential proteins which are required by livestock. Silage is



best liked by livestock due to its high digestibility and palatability.



Silage preparation



Following steps are commonly used in the preparation of silage



 Harvesting



 Chopping



 Storage






Best silage can only be achieved if it is harvested at proper time so at that time it is best at its



nutritional stage. This harvesting time can be judged by given indications:



 Plant is at its maturity stage



 In case of maize, half grain is in milking stage



 It must have 50 % flowers



 65-70 % moisture should be there



Method of checking moisture in fodder



Fodder will be at its optimum moisture content when its stem is squeezed and no water comes



out of it. It is the best indication of moisture. The ratio of moisture in fodder is the best when no



water seeps out of the stem of the fodder on squeezing it.






Chopping of fodder can be done with a common chopper but to enhance the process of chopping



an electric chopper can also be used. Fodder can be chopped with a common fodder chopper, but



an electric chopper or the tractors shaft can hasten the chopping process, which results in



improvement in the quality of silage



The size of chopped fodder



¼th to ¾th inch size is considered best for silage, although 1 inch size of 15 % pieces of chopped



fodder maintains its fiber level.



Storage of the silage



It can be stored in a pit on higher ground. Certain points should be keep in mind while selecting



place for storage



 It should be near to shed.



 It should be on at some elevation to save it from water.



 No salinity at that place.



Advantages of silage



 Field losses minimum



 Harvest losses less



 Harvesting and storage through mechanical means



 No water damage risk



 No risk for loss of nutrients



 Used in different livestock programs



Problems in the silage production



 Large volume of fodder creates problems in handling



 Other machinery used for its harvesting and storage



 Risk of loss if care is not taken



Factors affecting silage quality



The factors which affect the quality of silage are



 Type of crop



 Stage of maturity



 Moisture content



 Length of chop



Most of crops including legumes and grasses can be stored as silage but the most common is



corn. Its energy contents are higher. Alfalfa and sorghum also can be used for silage purpose. We



should choose crop at that stage at which it has maximum green part. This is most important for



good silage. Moisture content for silage crop should be near 65-70 %.Length of chop also affects



as air exclusion is affected by this. There should be good chopping and packing.



Storage of silage



Traditional storage methods on farms are silos. However bales are also becoming popular. These



are wrapped in polythene material to ensile them and can be of three colors. Black is the most



common color. White promotes lower fermentation temperature as it reflects the sun.


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