Discussion created on 10/13/2009

inoculant on corn (maize)

Forum: Many people think there is no reason to use an inoculant on corn (maize) silage, as it can ensile itself. Is this true?

While it is true that corn (maize) silage will ensile without the use of an inoculant, using a high quality, proven inoculant can significantly improve the efficiency of the ensiling fermentation, improving dry matter and energy recovery. Using a proven inoculant containing Lactobacillus buchneri will also help prevent heating and spoilage at feedout.

Bob Charley
Bob Charley
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Muhammad Nawaz Ali Muhammad Nawaz Ali
B.S Biotechnologist And Informaticst
October 13, 2009
Yes Innoculant containing Lactobacillus buchneri ,and some other strains of Lactobacilli also boot ensile for long term sillage storageand getteing neurients out and increase flash.
October 14, 2009
I fully agree on Lactobacillus buchneri helping to prevent mould and heating of Maize silage during secondary fermentation. I do not believe that ANY Homofermentative (Lactic acid producing) bacteria is required for Maize Silage, since it contains enough starch to start primary fermentation on its own. So, Yes to the initial question. But, if you require Aerobic stability, Lactobacillus buchneri is your answer.
October 14, 2009

Not Really. In Malaysia we have been using an inoculant called starbio as an effective microb on silage (include corn silage) since early 2000. The result is good and our farmers continue using it for any type of silage.

October 14, 2009

All forages can be ensiled without the benefit of an inoculant and the use of an inoculant will not guarantee that a good quality forage will be produced! The first principles of making good quality forage are always to harvest quickly at the correct dry matter then to compact it and seal to prevent oxygen feeding spoilage moulds and bacteria.
However producers must realise that if they do not use a silage inoculant they will lose at least 5-6[percent] of the dry matter in the ensiled material as a good inoculant will dramatically accerlarate the in pH which is required for good fermentation. There have been numerous scientific studies carried out over the past thirty years which confirm this fact.( eg Howard Larsen University of Wisconsin)
Inoculants often also contain lactic acid bacteria which turn some of the lactic acid into acetic acid upon clamp opening and provide good aerobic stability. Lactobacillus buchneri is often used for this purpose and it is very effective initially. However our own studies have shown that this organism grows so fast that in many silages all of the lactic acid is converted into acetic acid leading to a lack of palatability and subsequent bacterial spoilage.
Therefore our preferance is to use the organism Lactobacillus brevis which grow slowly and predictably and will not convert all the lactic acid to acetic before the silage is fed. it can typically give the farmer an extra two to three days to feed the whole of a well compacted silo face.
But whilst inoculant producers have been able to demonstrate that they have been able to preserve and stabilise forages our new generation enzymes are the first to be able to scientifically prove the improvement of forages.This combination will enable producers to derive more of their production from what is normally their cheapest input forage!
Please read the News item on Engormix detailing these claims.

Robert Charley Robert Charley
Product Manager
October 14, 2009
In reply to Mr Phillips comment about L. buchneri growing quickly and converting all the lactic to acetic, there are close to 100 independent studies done with L. buchneri strain 40788 that I have seen and in no case have I seen that effect. I reality L. buchneri is far slower at growth than homolactic LAB. The only situations I have ever seen where L. buchneri resulted in high levels of acetic has been in material weher the product was not recommended for and should not be used in, e.g alfalfa silage at 30[percent] DM, ensiled for 150+ days.

Also, I have never seen any independent data that shows L. brevis improves the aerobic stability of silage. We looked for one for several years, since L. brevis was on the FDA GRAS list, while L. buchneri was not and we hade to get it added.

Also, L. buchneri strain 40788 at high dose rates (400,00 CFU/ g on silage, 600,000 CFU/ g HMC) is the only prodduct ever to be reviewed by the FDA abd allowed to make a claim for improvind aerobic stability.
October 14, 2009
the use of lactobacillus cultures as silage inoculants is a fact but, what about yeasts? yeasts are presente in high counts in every type of silage and they are often considered as unwanted microorganisms, but...could yeast strains such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae be helping in the acid procution, thus, helping in the manteinance of a low pH? wich would be the disadvantages of a yeast based inoculant?Im about to do some reaserch on the subject...
Robert Charley Robert Charley
Product Manager
October 14, 2009

The main concern would be that yeasts themselves are the primary cause of heating in silage, and so using a yeast inoculum could worsen stability. Of course, if you fond a strain that did not cause heating and did not negatively effect fermentation but did provide a benefit, then it could be possible to product.

October 20, 2009

Silage inoculants and corn silages:

Really a very interesting topic: . Very often producers affirm corn silages do not need a silage inoculant. This opinion is mainly based on the fact that corn silages show relatively high levels of acidity (low pH values) upon opening of the silo. This is due to the high amount of sugar in the material, the low buffer capacity and the relatively high epiphytic micro flora on the crop at harvest. However, it is very common to find aerobic instability in corn silages. Therefore we have two different topics to discuss: a) fermentation and b) aerobic stability.

a) Fermentation: The ensiling phase in which covered silages have higher losses is in the aerobic phase at the beginning. Depending on the compaction, lower or bigger amounts of oxygen remain inside the material and the endogenous enzymes are active. A sufficient decrease of the pH value is needed in order to stop the activity of the endogenous enzymes and prevent losses.

We cannot improve the compaction with a silage inoculant but it is possible to improve the acidification. In several laboratory trials using silage inoculants with different opening times we found that the acidification can be improved (faster and deeper) at the second day in case of corn silages. This could be the explanation why higher energy contents are found in corn silages at the opening of the silo.

b) Aerobic stability: it is generally recognized by the scientific community that aerobic instability is the main problem in corn silages. The use of silage inoculants with acetic or propionic acid producing strains can improve the shelf life of the silages. Nevertheless propionic acid producing bacteria live normally in higher pH conditions. Therefore the use of acetic acid producing bacteria is preferred.

Lactobacillus buchneri is doubtless the most known heterofermentative lactic acid bacterium (hLAB). However, other heLAB are available and produce a similar effect of improving the aerobic stability, for example, L. brevis or L. kefiri. Trials are available (see the proceedings of the last International Silage Conference (ISC) which took place in Madison, USA, in July 2009, for example). Compared with non treated silages Improvements in aerobic stability of 2 – 4 days have been found using products which contained these strains. It is desired to reach an acetic acid content of 1,5 – 3,0 [percent] in the DM in order to guarantee good aerobic stability but also a good palatability.

Homofermentative lactic acid bacteria (hoLAB ) produce mainly lactic acid, which is a good energy source for the growth of yeasts and moulds. Therefore no improvement in the aerobic stability should be expected when using silage inoculants containing only hoLAB.

Silages made, for example, of corn and grass are quite different. In the first case (corn silages), the emphasis should be placed on the aerobic stability. In the case of grass silages, an improvement in the fermentation. This is the reason why a differentiation in the product lines is needed.

Enzymes and corn silages: what is the aim?

Fibrolytic enzymes to breakdown complex carbohydrates into simple sugars for feeding the LAB? In corn harvested at a normal maturity stage there is enough sugar for the fermentation. The use of enzymes in general is controversial. The investigation done by the US researcher Kung (2002) about the use of enzymes in silages showed a low effectivity. Seven years later, Kung (ISC, 2009) named the results in the use of enzymes in silages as “inconsistent”. The pH value, for example, plays a role in the activity of the enzymes. Especially in corn silages, where the acidification is very quick and deep, most of the enzymes are out of their optimum pH range.

Yeasts as silage inoculants?:

Yeasts are present in the silages as sign of a bad sealing or spoilage in the feed out phase. Most yeast species require oxygen for their growth, however some of them are facultative anaerobes. Their main fermentation product is alcohol. Even more: they use the lactic acid for producing alcohol and other less desirable substances. Consequently, the silage quality, from all points of view (pH value, DM and energy losses, palatability), would be worse. Therefore their use as inoculant in the silage is not recommended.

Finally, we are completely agreed and it should be remarked that only good ensiling practices can be a guarantee for a successful inoculation and good silage quality. Silage inoculants work under proper conditions but they cannot replace good agricultural practices. It is not appropriate to recommend silage inoculants for correcting bad agricultural practices.

October 25, 2009
This is really a very good discussion especially for those who have just started making and using silage for their livestock as is the case in Pakistan. In Pakistan traditionally for livestock production fresh fodder through cut, carry and serve system has been used and still being practiced. The concept of silage is still new and its success will lead others to follow.
To me silage making and its storage is an art. Involving in silage making practice helps a lot to learn by the farmers with the passage of time. We can not take risk of silage spoilage because of one reason or the other. Besides observing best possible perfection in whole of the process of silage making, use of inoculant certainly gives a gaurantee of giving better silage and prolonging its storage life.
Therefore I will be the last person to think of making silage without using inoculant
February 25, 2019

There has been plenty of proof of ROI on the better silage inoculants, but mycotoxin silage inoculants have yet to be developed.I am told Round Up`s safe tolerance in foods in New Zealand is only 1% of United States posted safe tolerance in foods. Would it make sense for health and life insurer and dairy Co-ops to check to see if China could use this leverage to maintain there grain, milk and all ag product tariffs?

It is conceivable that Round Up without tariffs will continue to show up in milk in whole grain and processed breakfast cereals in China as USA moms see. Maybe long winded, but are we really able to "feed the world" without a touch more real deep thought of what that responsibility means. Monsanto is caught in the middle of stock holders, cash flow and possibly investing in gene editing the oil seed and grain seed including corn silage to deny uptake of commercial chemicals in any commercial food plants.

January 4, 2021

Most yeast species require oxygen for their growth, however some of them are facultative anaerobes. Their main fermentation product is alcohol. Even more: they use the lactic acid for producing alcohol and other less desirable substances. Consequently, the silage quality, from all points of view (pH value, DM and energy losses, palatability), would be worse.

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Dave Albin, Ph.D.
Dave Albin, Ph.D.
VP, Nutrition & Extrusion Technologies
  West Des Moines, Iowa, United States
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