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Silage Additives-Are You Throwing Your Money Away?
Farmers who buy those, highly touted silage additives are probably wasting their money, according to a report in a recent issue of Michigan Farmer magazine.
"Research throughout the country indicates that while some products improve silage quality, few improve animal performance. Those that improve animal performance do so in an inconsistent manner," the article by Dave Weinstock, associate editor, points out.
Michigan State University dairy science professor Bill Thomas says he is not convinced silage additives are useful. "In recent years, many preparations have claimed improvement in silage," he says. "Some of these products are beneficial and some are not. However, the easiest and least expensive way to make hay and silage is to do the job correctly.
"Farmers are better off not making an investment that adds to the cost of production. In most cases, the costs are greater than the benefit derived. Neither enzyme products nor bacteria products show sufficient benefit for use," according to Thomas.
Today, there are well over 100 forage improvement products on the market. Their primary active ingredients differ substantially. Some use acids, while others use bacteria, enzymes and cereal by-products, to name a few.
Looking at additives strictly from a preservative standpoint, Purdue University animal scientist K. S. Hendrix notes that: "Research has shown that the best these products can do is to improve dry matter by 5%. This means an additional 35 lbs. of dry matter will be preserved per ton. Assuming dry matter is worth $60 per ton, the additional dry matter is worth $1.05."
Silage additives mentioned in the article include: Sila-Bac, (formerly Sila-Gain), Ensila, Kylage, Silogen, Impruv-All, Sweetzyme, Fresh Crop, Si-Lo-Fame, S. I. Conc., Sila-Lator, Silo-Best, Crop Cure, and Pro-Tex. "It was not possible to cover all silage additives in this article," explains Weinstock. "Products not mentioned were omitted because of an absence of readily available research."
If you'd like a copy of the complete story, entitled "Silage Additives: Could you be throwing your money away?", send $2.00 to: Silage Additives, c/o Michigan Farmer, 3303 West Saginaw Street, Lansing, Mich. 48914 (ph 517 323-4141). Allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery.

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1981 - Volume #5, Issue #6