By Dave Spangler and Dr. Dan Schauff, Ph.D., P.A.S.
For nearly 50 years, Agri-King has used Silo-King® as a forage additive tool to help forage and dairy producers retain greater quantity and improve the quality of harvested forages. Agri-King has always had three basic goals in mind to improve forage quality and quantity which includes:
1. Minimize heating and dry matter loss (shrink) during ensiling which results in more retained nutrients, energy, and tonnage to feed livestock.
2. Provide a stable and palatable crop at feed out which, in turn, results in less wastage of spoiled feeds.
3. “Unlock” more of the crop’s nutrients and potential energy during digestion in the animal in order to support better feed efficiency.
Silo-King’s unique synergistic combination of ingredients works to minimize respiration and hinder the growth of undesirable spoilage organisms (e.g. Clostridia, Bacillus, fungi). The end result is “cooler” ensiling temperatures and greater retention of nutrients and energy (i.e. higher quality) in forages. The enzyme mix of Silo-King can “unlock” more of the energy potential of forages thereby improving feed efficiency.
Agri-King’s founder Del Curley often said, “Nothing is so good that it can’t be better”. Through the years, Agri-King’s Research & Development department has accepted this challenge to make all of our products including Silo-King better. Consequently, after countless laboratory and farm-scale experiments, we have made vast improvements in the synergy of the Silo-King ingredients and are excited about what we observed. A new and improved Silo-King formulation will be available for the 2018 growing season. There have been improvements made in our bacterial blend, antioxidants, and enzyme mix.
In order to verify the efficacy of the new Silo-King treatment of forages, numerous studies were conducted using many different crops including alfalfa haylage, corn silage, high-moisture corn, high moisture earn corn and grass silage. In these studies, we monitored both the speed and extent of pH decline and lactic acid production of the forage, as well as other fermentation parameters, during the first 60 days of ensiling. We also assessed improvements in digestibility, microbial profile and aerobic stability (bunk-life) of the ensilage upon desiling.
In numerous experiments, non-treated forages were compared to the current Silo-King and the new Silo-King formulation. In an experiment using alfalfa haylage, the new Silo-King formulation resulted in the lowest pH and highest lactic acid % at both 7 days of ensiling (speed) and 60 days of ensiling (extent) (see Figures 1 & 2). The 12-hour dry matter digestibility was also greatest for the haylage treated with the new Silo-King after 60 days of ensiling (see Figure 3). The aerobic stability of this haylage was tested after it was exposed to air for 72 hours (see Figure 4). The haylage treated with the new Silo-King had greater aerobic stability as indicated by the lower fungal counts and greater DM retention (see Figure 4). Similar results regarding fermentation parameters and digestibility after only 18 days of ensiling were obtained when corn silage was treated with the new Silo-King compared to the current Silo-King or left untreated. In addition, 12-hour starch digestion was the highest for corn silage treated with the new Silo-King (see Figure 5).
Farm scale experiments have been conducted on several dairy farms during the 2016-17 growing seasons where temperatures were monitored during the first two to three weeks of ensiling using either data loggers or compost thermometers. The application of the new Silo-King formulation resulted in cooler temperatures compared to the current Silo-King or competitor treatments (see Figures 6, 7 & 8). As aforementioned, cooler ensiling (or curing) temperatures are indicative of reduced respiration, as well as, greater dry matter, energy, and nutrient retention.
For nearly fifty years, Silo-King has been THE trusted and proven forage additive to help forage and livestock producers retain as much of the harvested forage tonnage as possible and get the most out of each pound of forage fed to their livestock. Ask your Agri-King area manager about the new and improved Silo-King for your 2018 crop year. AK