Ensiling


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ensiling

[en′sīl·iŋ]
(agriculture)
The anaerobic fermentation process used to preserve immature green corn, legumes, grasses, and grain plants; the crop is chopped and packed while at about 70-80% moisture and put into silos or other containers to exclude air.

Ensiling

 

preserving feed in airtight spaces, the most common method of preparing succulent feeds. Ensiling has been practiced in Europe—in Sweden and the Baltic countries —since the 18th century. Beginning in the early 19th century the process was used in Germany to preserve sugar beet residue. In the second half of the century ensiling was adopted in France (in connection with raising fodder corn) and then in the United States, Great Britain, and Switzerland. The process was first used in Russia in the late 19th century, for the preservation of sugar beet tops and pulp residue and later for the preservation of clover, alfalfa, meadow grasses, corn, and feed root crops.

Ensiling involves the following operations: mowing the bulk greens or harvesting root crops or cucurbits; hauling, chopping, and loading the green crops into the silo; and compacting and covering the silage crop. Storage in an airtight structure prevents the development of aerobic bacteria and mold fungi. The lactic acid that forms as a result of the activity of lactic acid bacteria sours the feed (optimal pH is 4.2) and suppresses anaerobic decay and the development of butyric acid.

Sugar is the source of nutrition for lactic acid bacteria, and therefore the sugar content in feed determines its suitability for ensilage. Particularly suitable for ensilage are corn, sunflower seeds, annual and perennial cereal grasses, mixtures of cereals and leguminous herbs, feed cabbage, root crops and their tops, and cucurbits. Legumes and potato tops can be ensiled, but with difficulty. Nettles, the succulent tops of tomatoes, and gourds cannot be ensiled.

Ensiling is regulated by selecting raw material according to suitability as ensilage. Various chemical substances are added to difficult-to-ensile bulk material to prevent the development of undesirable microbiological processes. Surplus sugar in the silage crop is fermented by yeasts, and alcohol and carbon dioxide form. The moisture content of the raw material must not be greater than 75 percent, and temperatures should be 35°-37°C. Dry feed is added if the moisture content is above 75 percent. Overheating causes a decrease in nutritive value and the breakdown of vitamins. Chopping up the plant material causes the release of much cell sap; as a result, carbohydrates are used better by lactic acid bacteria, and lactic acid accumulates more rapidly. Chopped material is easier to mix with other feeds, to compact, to remove from storehouses, and to distribute to animals. Green plants are ensiled when their nutrient content is the greatest and before hardening.

REFERENCES

Zubrilin, A. A. Nauchnye osnovy konservirovaniia zelenykh kormov. Moscow, 1947.
Berezovskii, A. A. Silosovanie kormov. Moscow, 1969.
Zafren. S. Ia. Kak prigotovit’ khoroshii silos. Moscow, 1970.

S. IA. ZAFREN

References in periodicals archive ?
Epiphytic microorganisms, especially lactic acid bacteria (LAB), naturally present on forage crops are responsible for silage fermentation and also influence silage quality because LAB present in forage crops can convert sugar into lactic acid during the ensiling process (Muck et al.
Generally, the first stage of ensiling is competition among the epiphytic microorganisms to use WSC to produce fermentation products.
Both ensiling environment and forage characteristics differ for the cool- and warm-season species.
Based on lack of bale location effects for most of nutritive values, the in-line wrapping system appeared capable of maintaining the necessary uniform ensiling conditions required for successful round bale silage storage, regardless of bale location with in tubes.
It was observed that the color of TP was virtually preserved in the TPS during the ensiling period.
At silo opening after 100 days of ensiling, silages were sub-sampled for the analyses of nutrient contents, fermentation indices and aerobic stability.
The chemical composition and microbial counts of whole-plant corn and TMR before ensiling are presented in Table 2.
Ensiling: Although ensiling is essentially the use of controlled fermentation to preserve a crop or material of high moisture by creating anaerobic conditions (McDonald et al.
In the tropical and sub tropical humid regions, high humidity in the atmosphere and more rains in the production period limit the time of making hay, and ensiling is considered to be the most promising preservation technique.
Phytoes-trogen content of Bird's foot trefoil and red clover: effects of growth stage and ensiling method.