Dairy Science Department
BS in Dairy Science
There are many different ensiling methods, each having positive and negative aspects to them. The aim of ensiling corn is for the corn to go under a proper fermentation process, free of oxygen and other environmental stressors. The objective of this literature review is to determine the most ideal method of corn silage management from the time the corn is chopped, until the cow consumes it in the total mixed ration (TMR). The literature review was conducted by analyzing more than thirty articles covering silage management and the effects it has on the corn silage quality and productivity of the cow. The higher density corn silage has (lbs. per cubic foot) when packed, increases the possibility of anaerobic fermentation throughout the pile. Packing silage densely and sealing it properly are key contributors to managing corn silage allowing for anaerobic fermentation. Aerobically unstable silage is detrimental to the corn reducing the amount of beneficial nutrients and increasing the amount of toxins that can potentially spread throughout the pile. Aerobically unstable silage has develops molds that have harmful effects on cows, which directly affects health of the cow and dry matter intake (DMI), and indirectly decreases milk production. Silage that is managed properly can decrease unnecessary losses from shrink and milk production, eliminating the risk of the cost of a ration increasing.The greater the packing density and less exposure to oxygen has shown to decrease the amount of corn silage loss due to shrink. Ruppel et al. (1992) showed a corn silage with a greater density could cut the dry matter losses from shrink in half. Oelberg et al. (2006) showed a difference of the value of corn silage per acre up to $38.60 based on corn silage prices of $20 per ton. In a study conducted by Dickerson et al. (1992) dry matter recovery comparing covered and uncovered silage can have a difference of 70% recovery and noticeably higher quality silage. This literature review will analyze the proper techniques of silage management, determining how to create the most profitable silage possible.