FARMERS are being advised to pay close attention to detail when harvesting maize and take steps to minimise waste and preserve maximum quality.

“It’s not been a typical season for maize, with many crops going into the ground late”, explains Lientjie Colahan, technical sales support at Lallemand Animal Nutrition. “Quality and yield is looking variable, therefore it’s important farmers explore avenues which could help maximise quality and minimise dry matter losses between the field and feed-out, this will allow them to reduce purchased feed costs.”

Colahan said using a maize-specific inoculant at ensiling will help get the most out of the crop, especially in challenging seasons like this one.

“Maize can be more difficult to compact, meaning there’s more potential for residual oxygen in the clamp. When the clamp is opened, oxygen will penetrate faster, re-activating the yeasts and leading to aerobic spoilage and wasted silage.

“New metagenomic trial data which looked at bacterial levels in maize silage treated with Magniva Platinum Maize over a 10-day period found that after being exposed to oxygen, the pH of the treated silage was unchanged.

“This indicates a significant improvement in aerobic stability which was made possible due to the reduction of spoilage yeast populations when treating with the combination of L. buchneri NCIMB 40788 and L. hilgardii CNCM I-4785.”

Trial data also revealed the treated silage showed a lower production of some specific mycotoxins after it had been exposed to oxygen, supporting palatability and reducing a potential threat to cow health.

Jon Barton, regional business manager at Lallemand Animal Nutrition, added that alongside using an inoculant, paying close attention to the management practices at cutting will also maximise maize silage quality.