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How a silage audit can benefit you

By Brad Clyburn Ph D., Chr. Hansen Animal Health & Nutrition

Ensiled forages account for the majority of most dairy rations around the world. The main purpose for feeding ensiled forages is to preserve and recover organic dry matter, while retaining nutritional value and palatability. Proper or improved silage management can have a significant impact on the overall profitability of the dairy.

The Chr. Hansen Silage Audit is a program designed to assess silage quality at the farm level and provide suggestions for improvements. To get started, a Chr. Hansen Account Manager analyzes the bunker with an infrared thermal-imaging camera. With this imagery a silage audit report is created that includes a detailed visual analysis, as well as pH, temperature, density, fermentation profile and a thermal infrared photo of the silage face. It is important to note that the purpose of this audit is not to be a report card, but rather a means to help good managers become great managers. Porosity samples are also collected across the bunker face and measured for density.

Once all measurements are completed, a composite sample is collected and sent to the lab for silage-fermentation analysis. Figures 1 and 2 are images of a well-managed bunker. This producer uses a defacer daily to help reduce wasted feed. However, the Flir® infrared thermal camera confirms the visual analysis, that the edges of the defacer are not working properly and allowing air into the bunker, causing it to heat.

Our Silage Audit also includes fecal and TMR samples for analysis. The purpose of this analysis is to get an indication of the total-tract starch digestibility of the cows. Chr. Hansen is recognized as the world’s microbial expert. Contact us to learn more about a Silage audit at your dairy farm.

Contact us to learn more about a silage audit in North America.

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