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) '111111 ('h,1I ombe Publications

ISBN 0948617012

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\1 I 1/1' (,111 dition

I 11 I I-LlJf..NT ISBN O 94861712 8
-< Second Edition
I" I N D I1 - A L TH ISBN0948617160

ISBN O 94861700 4

)111 I /WJI EREALS ISBN 094861721 7 cn
)II~II" / ( R ~'IILK ANDMEAT ISBN 0948617071
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I 1I JlIN(i - RUMINANTS: Principlesand Practice ISBN O 94861709 8

'lJlllllllvf V iluc for Rurninants
UK Tables of Feed Composition
ISBN 0948617055
CD o.'

, It ",.., Ruw Materiais for Animal Feed

ISBN 0948617 152 Second
1"'j'"1I1I1I1 r II1(J arrners
Adr iana Guim
Prof" Adjunta

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,: The Biochemistry


Second Edition

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Peter McDonald
Formerly Reader in Agricultura/ Biochemistrv,
University of Edinburgh
! t;
Head of lhe Department of Agricultura! Biochemi,'ilry,
Edillburgh School of Agriculture.

1; Nancy Henderson
.. li !
Senior Si/age Spedalisi'jorih Scottish Agricultural Coltege,
I, i?
Bush Estate, Penicuik,

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ShirIey Heron
)(: (
Research Microbiologist, ICl Bia/ogical Products, Bi/lingham, Cleveland.

cff.driana (}uim
Zootecnista CRMV 777/Z
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Preface ' _ _ , ,'. 7

Chapter 1 lntroducton ", . , , ' , ' ,.. , ',' , , , .. ' , , , , .. , , .. ' ,

Chapter 2 Crops for silage , , , " .. , . 19



3 \ Plant enzymes .... , .... , .. , ...


, .. , . , , , , . ' .. , , . , , , , . : . , . , \48 ;

Chapter!4 : Microorganisms .,, , , , ' .. , , .. , , . '. , , . ' " .. ~8J .

"--1 l .._" -~

Chapter ] Oxygen , , , .. ',',. , , , 1152

, t"._"
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I r t dition published by J. Wiley and-Sons ltd. Chapterj : Water ,., ,'" .. , .. , .. : , , ,,, ,." '" . 6"

I und edition published byChalcombei Publieatons, ,1;l Highwoods Chapteri7! ~dditi",es, ,., ,.:, , , , , , , . , . , , . , , , , .. , .. , 184
Ilr v . Marlow Bcttorn, Marlow, Bucks SL7 3PU' '
, , ,

Chapter :~, \ Lesses during enslage .,..... .. ,.", .. ",',.,.:"., .. " ..

,t dltion 1981 Chapter 9 Nutritive value of silages , , . ' , , , . , . ' , . ' .. .-, , . , .. : , , 2..';0
,,""rI edition 1991
~uthO lndex .. , . , . , , . , , , . , .. , .. , , . ' ,' . , , .. , . . . 306
P. McDonald, AR, Henderson and S,:'.E. H~;~~ 1991
SubjecQindex .... , ... , , .. , .... , , ' ... , , , , .' , ... , , . , .. , , . 321
I N O 9.48617 22 5 ,/

11 IIlln/ll,\' reserved. No pan of rhfs publication ma)' be reproduced. stored in a

I I1 system, or transmitted in any form or , by any means electronic,
1/1 r/lIl/lf 'aI; photocopying, recording 01' otherwise, without lhe prior permis-
\ '1/1 ({'he .Copvrigh: owners.

1'1 IlIr'c1 ln reat Britain by Cambrian Printers Lrd: Aberystwyth


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Sinee the first edition 01 this book was published in 1981. silage has beeome even
more importam as a winter f'eed .for ruminanl animais and in many countries
cnsilagc is JlOW lhe major mctbod oflorugc conscrvution. As a conscqucncc. thc
levelof research in this field during lhe past 10 years has increased considerably
ando in this new edition of lhe Biochernistryof Silage , we have atternpted to take
into account lhe main findings of these studies, In lhe second edition we have
followed a similar formal to that of lhe rst , but have found it more convenient 10
discuss lhe microbiology of sage in a single chapter ..
We "'ipuld like toexpress our thanks to the many individuais on whose help we
have diwn. In particular we are grateful to Dr Anne McDonald for her
invaluable help and advice in the preparation'nnd editing of lhe rnanuscript. We .
. '
are grateful to Dr Mike Wilkinson and Dr Barbara Stark for their helpful
suggestions, Our thanks are also due to lhe staff of lhe Nutrition Departrnent of
lhe Edinburgh School of Agrculture. r

We are grateful to those who gave perrnission to reproduce copyright data,

particularly Dr J.M. Wilkinson (Table 1.1 and Figure lU), Acadernic Press,
London (Figure 2.1). Carnbridge University Press(Table 2.8). Springer-Verlag
(Figure 3.7) .. Oxford University Press (Figure 3.10), Longman. London (Figure
3.9), Bioehemical Journal (Figure 3.15). The British Grassland Society (Tables
5.4 andR.3. Figure 8.]), Blackvell Scientifie Publications (Tables 5.1 and 9.28)
~, . and the Controller of Her Majesty's Stationery Office (Figures 6;2 and 6.4).

P. McDonald
A.R. Hendcrson
S.J.E. I Ieron
October 1l}90

Chapter 1


~ ~:.i., ~t The main objective in the conservation of any crop is to preserve it at lhe
~1 ".f ~ optirnum stage of growth for use during those .seasons when the crop is
unavailabe. ln countries such as lhe United Kingdom, where there is a restricted
.~. l' .growing season, conserved forage has forrnany-centuries played a major role in
helpiog to rneet lhe nutritional needs of ruminants for survival during lhe winter
Haymaking has long been lhe traditional technique of preserving forage, but
.. g r.i the need to delay harvesting until a mature stage of growth of relatively high dry
'1 -~, .matter (DM) content was reached meant that lhe crop was of low digestibility
',\ .r- (; .. )~. before it was dried. This fact coupled with the vagaries of the weather, which
r G frequenty resulted in high lesses during lhe drying processo led to a product of
variable composition, and often.of low nutritional value. Early interest by farmers
"'. in conserving crops by natural fermentation as silage stemmed frorn lhe
Y 1.: -realisaton that this process was less deperdent on both the weather and lhe need
to harvest crops at an advanced stage of growth.
Taday, although haymaking methods have been improved considerably by lhe'
r e: introduction of .:new drying techniques, many farmers find these to be toa
specialised and time-consuming and prefer to preserve their crops instead as
silage. ln Western Europe , and in many other regions of lhe world, the quantity
'of forage preserved as silage now exceeds that preserved as hay!:' (Table 1.1).

Table Ll , Estimaled production of sila~e and .hay .in,.Weslern Europe, 1975 and 1?85
(million tonnes UM)I .

1975 19!!5

Silage Hay Tolal . Siluge Hay. Total

European Cornmunity 12 44.6 51U 102.9 70.9 45.8 116.i'

. Austria + Switzerland 1.7 5.!! 7.5 3.2 4.7 7.9
Scandinavia l.O 7.3 11.3 1.9 7.6 9..1
Tplal 47.3 . 71.4 IIIU . 76.U 58.1 IJ4.l


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11 ~lL Silage is lhe material produced by lhe controlled Iermentation of a crop of high
moisture contento Ensilage is the narne giyen to lhe process and the container, if
.. .~ used, is called lhe silo, The storage of material in silos. either ~I$ grain or as a
green crop, has been common ,practicefor mariy centuries.:'


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Thc wonl ~ihl'is de;i"L'd Irorn lhe Grcck siros. Il1cilllin!,\ iI ril or hole sunk in the scuxon of lhe ye;'t'f'~~;,jJ,"\Ve hnvc lhe mosi Icisure 10 111<1" e il, il;ltlwhen it b ririg-
groulld fur st oring corn.:' Pliny. in hi-. Naturu! Historv. meutions lhe prcservation of lhe bcst price in lhe i'l',., ..... : our bcc v ls can bc kcpt gro\\'ing lhe year roun d , ill1,(;
corn in trenches. whi1h 'were called siri, in Cappndocia und Thrace. 111Spain and more of thcm to lhe aCh'''' )'D ever be ore . and for a Icss pricc.'
frica speciul cure '\\Ias taken 10 select a dry xite illltll\preadichaff or stubble on top Nol surprisingly. ensilagc \tl"'~~t:/husiaSlicall\'ild()plt:d in thc USA und Fr ancx ,
of lhe soil, Among lhe Greeks. who reter .tn silos are;: Euripidcv. Thcophrastus.' bUI it ,\"'s some lime bcfore it w~i<.,".ke}llJp in lhe UK. and it was not unt il IX:L
Hcsychius and Stlitlils~" The Grcck word siromastcs rderr~d 10 ;'1tvpc of instrume m lhal rhe subjccr rcccived general int erest J.!l11>ng,Hrilish Iarrners. AI lhe Readif!.t!
with un jron P()jl11 \lr.J1nll1g. for probing the silosro.sce ir cont rubund \Ir orhcr Show "I lhe KIl\',11 Auriculturul Socict v .Wicomtc ue' Chczellcs, OI1l: or lhe mo~H
illlpn11'L'r )!()ous' wcrc ' sccrctcd in thcm. This inxtrumcn: wus abo uscd as a urdem stlpro;tc~s of e~lsilage in Frilnce g ave ail~!JI1P~essive account of hi~ <yst enr
scrviceuble wcapor: in time of war und is rcferrcd 10 in lhe GIlI Tcstument (2 Kinus, which includcd lhe filling of thc 'Iargcst siln in ',~c WIlI'I(f of I.()()(l ionncs
xi, 10). where Jehoiada is rcprcscntcd as g.i~ing lhe centurions the sirornastue -of capacity." In I HiG it wus reported thut not more rhan I'. "r a dozen silos were in
Dil\'id:',Ol paiillings Iound in Egypt , dat ing frorn thc period ubout J(J(){)to 15rKJ I, ' existc ncc in t hc UK, hut within thc n e xt few )'eaiS intcrest illLi<;,;'/.:tIdramut ical lv.
13,C.. Sll!!)!r:,l that thc uncicnt Egyptinns wcre Iumiliur. wiih ensilinu as a means (Ir Sll Ihal hv the veur IXK(l thcre cxis tc d 1.<IJ:' silos in thc clJuni"."
prcxcrviuj; crops:c ccording to Kirstein.' silo~ wcre Iound in the ruil1~ of Carthauc. 111the l:rK. i;I(~rL'st hiu! conccntrtu c d nn the l!S~'nfgrass ruthcr thun 111i1IZ<.." ,l
which indicares thut Ioddcr was ensilcd thcre in about I2IHI B,C. , - silagc crop. hut il wns rculised that the procedur es o~ullined hy Goffart. sue] a,
Fr(llJ' ilncient.'wril;ings in the l\leditt:rranean rczion it secrns tllat air-tizht rapid lillinl! fo"ll<lwctl hy seuling of lhe mass 11)'Il,Wke it airtight , upplicd cqu ully to
sealing. of the foddcr wus considered to be an irnport 11I cont.lilion for succesxful lhe grass crop as to maize. Unfor tun arely the principies outlined by Golf art
conxcrvution..' The Rornun historiun Caro (ubout A.D, 111(1)me ntioned that the .'. rece ive d iI sct-buck in this country o n the publicauon, in IHK5. of lhe bouk ,<'jh'H'1
Tellllllls stor ed grccn Ioddcr in lhe ground ;IIlU ther covercd it with dung. ~ I n ClIsilagr bv Fry." The sweet ensilage procex-, dcpcnded upon lhe dcvc lopn rc nt i"
11<11)',en,iling of wilterl gruss hus hcen practiscil.for at Icast 7iJD years." 10 lhe hcrhug 01' a tcmpcrurure of at le ast :O"c. bll,l frcqucntly it rnse to iI hglter
l""rlh<:1'II l.u ropc. /;!rass has hccn cnsilcd in Swcden an,d,in !lIc Ruxsian Baltic lcvc l. To achicvc Ihi~ u-mperuturc it was nCl"~\;li! io :tllo\\' uir to pc nct rnt c lhe
provinccs sincc lhe be ginning 01' thc cighrccnth centurv: while bect rops and mass und it \VilS usual to cut thc crup lute anil to witt bclorc lillillg the silo. S;llin~;
lcil\'t'S \\'LT~ 'cnsilcd in Northern Gcrrrum v at lhe hccinning 01' the ninctecnth \VilS thercforc delaycd until thc herbagc rc achcd !h.: dcsire d lelJ1pt.Til tu re .
ccnturv." . . -- Alt11l1U~h sil;lge pruduccd by this mcthod was lIsuaily wc!l prcservcd . hecuu se 01
111SI;i te uf lhis'eilrl~ 'knl1wledge of ensibge as a C(lI;WRilt'illll'leehniljlle in man y loss<:s arising lrum oxid.uion andhc a ti ng lhe prl wllll'1 wus .11ll111"p()or I1UIr it iona]
purrs "( the \\'orld. l "'as nu! 1I11til lhe liltler p<trt \lI' th\:! nrneteenth ccntury thal valuc and of littlc better than rnuintc n ance 41l~lil~:!"This rncthod 01' :1110\\ ing t hc
inlerest in this pnlce~~ hecame mOfe widespreatl, Thc earliest Iloted uescriptioll \l[ crop to heal up in the silll prior tu sealing pers51~'U as a Icchllique in the l' K unlil
silage making \\'il~ that 01' Gries\\ald. who pubHs:hed .his techniquc ill the the miu~1e 01' lhe pn:senl century. anu 1l1ily \\'.::11hil'.'t.:hecl1 iI rilCIDr in dei;" ing lhe
Trc'lll.\'c/CI;OIl5(l/lhe 8(//ric ASSOt'lIIioll forlfle .-Idl'unc<'l1/ctlf ofAgricl/llllre in lil42.; ad\'lncc 01' silagc lI1aking in Ihis cuuntry. II
(jric~\\'i\ld recolllmenueu lhat the pilS lIseu sh@l!1t~eli.lled with fresh grilsS as .-\parl 1'1'0111~h(lrt perinds during lhe 1\\'(1 \\'0 rid war". gcneral intereSl in ~nsilag.r'
rilridly <lSl'0ssib!e hy tramping. anu evcn hy ramming lhe g~,iss'lr;l the~I(), As wa~ nOI revi\'ed ulltiJ the 195(Js' as iJ. resul.!.. of ilTlrnl\:ements il1 mechanis;tti, 111a nd
I S\lun as l.he silp \vas filletl. the conlents sholllt.l bc scaled~()ff with a lan!r nf bnards
!li' iI \\'t'IIlitting lid, nn which should he rlaced a 1:lyer .o( earlh abolll -t5cm in
the lIecessity for more intensive ill1imal'producti!1n.
collcentlates. Toua)' it is generally acccpted
coupled wth' lhe hig,h cost oi
that. prcwided cerlain basic pri ncipk5
I heighl. ,111 I tl2. Rcihleu o Stllttgarl puhlished ali acC'ount 01' his cnsiling nf silagelllaking are followed. the proc!uclion ora high 4Uillily fced rur ruminanl5
is assund. . .
I procedure
in lhe Wumelllhcrg \V()('h(,llbl(/II.~ This was lr<lnslated int(l French and
in lhe )oltrlwl d'Awicl/llllre Prmiquc in IR7().
I The chid credit for what 'may he lermeu the pr'lctical.mouernising of cnsilage
lIndoubleuly bclongs to Goffart. ,I Frcnch farmer \\'ho. in 1~77, puhlished lhe firsl
hook 011 cnsilagc. which was based on hi~ own cxperiences 01' ensiling green
Illaj7.e.~ Ahoul a yeilr laIa, an English trarlsl,ltion (rf this hllok WilS puhlished in The firsl L'sselllial objccti\'e in preserving: Cf<1pS by lIatural fermenlalilll! is lhe
" lhe US;\ and Ihc 'nc\\" consen'illion techniquc\\'as quiddy taken up by aehievcllle.nt ()[ ill\:lL'fohic cl1nditi\lns. 111rraclin: all;lcrnhiosis Cilll hc ()1~lilnctl to\
1\l11ericilll brmcrs, Ai lhe rifth Ensilage Cpngr\!ss helu n Ncl\' York in J:lIIl1ar~' \'ari(lu~ n1el11l.1us. .
1:-;1>0, Slllith 01' Verll1(1nt sUlllmarised the feeling of nUlII\' filrm~r~ thus:' Tlle 1II,"'t cflieielll \\'iI\' is tI' s[Ore lhe l1liliL'lial in iI I1cnllclicalh ,;cilkJ
'li i, III11ILT~~~ar."I" d\\'dl \111lhe illh';lItlagc's "r iI wsleljl 01' L'lIril\!! rllddcr whidl CtllltilillL'l. illld II1Idcr Ih~SL' c\llldititll1' tllL' "\\~CII tral'l'L'l1 ill lhe 1ll"rb;l!!c i,;
~"all lilkL' I'liI<:L'as illuepelldel1l uf the \\'Lall1er. or \\'hieh \ViII I:lwhk us to kecp rapidly rrnl\l\'cd by n:spirillor~ Cll/y/lle'S in the plilllt. 111111<,Ilpl'IIlyre ~il", 111.:
t\V() CI1\\'S in the rJacL' "f ane Ol! our farms. \Ve alI ad:nowlcug.e its practical "alue. dliciency witlt \\'hich anaerobi(1~is ciln he ebl;iiJld tlepcnds up\ln the degree llr
IIlId \\'1: kntJ\\' \\'L' han: fOlll!d it in en:;ilage, .. 0ow, thRn.ks 1(11l\1:(Jofrar!. til wht11ll cnnsoliualipll ;1I1dlhe elkcti\'eness of th final sealinQ. Th~ IJwil1 aim (lf se<t1illf is
,\meric<ill farmcr, (1\\,1': a li"clier der! 01' gratilude ll1ilO 1(1any lother living mall, 10 pr.e\ent reenlry nntl circulalion of air during S(afage. \\'here OX\'!!ll is' ill
Illld In lhal an1azing grass. our native Indian cofll.'ft1ur farms are capabl.: af conlact with hernage for an!, period of time. an()l~i( micr~lniill aCli,il\'I;;curs ,ll1d
qllllLlrlll'ling their pl<ldllctions: the bcst ilnd s\\retesl plbuttcr can he maue in thc Ihl:' 1lI;IlCriill dCl'iI~'s 10 a usekss. incdibl. ;rnd freljul'lIlly lnxic produ,,'!.

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The second main objective is to discourage the actrvmes of undesirable. or clmp wirhout retaining walls. iover.: surface-walled c\amp or bunker,
microorganisms such as clostridia and enterobacteria. Clostridia are usually flexible-waled. vacuum. plastic sausage and big bale.
present on harvested forage in the form of spores,'! but start to multiply as soon
as condtions in the silo become anaerobic. t:I The growth of these organisms is Stack or clamp silo without retaining valls
undeslrable, as they produce butyric acid and degrade amino acids to <Ivariety of Thetterm stack, often used synonymously with the term clarnp, is taken to
products which are f poor nutritional value. The enterobacteria are non-spore comprise a heap of herbage built verticslly' 10 a height of about 2 to 3 rnetres on
forming. facultative anaerobes (able to grow in both the presence and absenee of grouadlevel, or on slightly excavated grourid.3..1.31 Originally the surfaces of stack
oxygen), which ferment sugars to acetic acid and other products and also have the silos vere left exposed to the air anel thisresulted in very high oxidatiolllosses.3n
ability to degrade amino acids.!" The commonest way of inhibiting the growth of Since' lhe 19505. when plastic sheeting was first introduced in to agriaIlture.
these undesirable microorganisms is to promote lactic acid ermentation.P'!" oxidtion losses in stack silos have been. markedly reduced.V
The lactic acid bactria are also normally present on harvested erops ando like ln th modern technique, lhe stack is built on a sheet of plastic placed on the
lhe enterobacteria, are faculta tive anaerobes. These :organisrns ferment lhe ground and when sufficient herbage has been deposited on ~his. it !s coveH.d with
naturally occurring sugars (mainly glucose und fructose) in the crop .to a mixturc a second sheet of plastic which is sealed 10 lhe lower one usmg a sirnple strip-seal
of acids, but predominantly lactic. The lactic acid produced Tncreases the or other suitable technique.:' In the Netherlands, small c1amps of herbage ol about
hydrogen ion concentration to a leveI at whieh the undesirable ibacteria are- 1.5 metres in height are covered with tW(J plastic sheets, weighted down at lhe lop
inhibited.IJ.'7.'H This inhibition is caused notonly by lhe hydrogen ion and sides with old rubber Iyres and held in place with sandbags positioned round
concentration but also by the undissociated acids thernselves. IJ lt is difficult to lhe periphery. .
state an exact critical pH value of the silage at which this inhibiting effect oecurs.
as the inhibition depends 110tonly on pH but also onthe moisture content and the Tower silo
temperature. The wetter the material. the lower will be the critica! pH value.
With unwilted grass crops of DM content 01' about 2011 g kg"", it is normal!y Talltcylindrical towers, built of concrete. steel or wood, are probably the most
accepted that the achievernent of a pH value of about 4.0 will preserve the crop effective way of storing herbage as sjlage, since surface exposure to the air is
satisactorily. provided the silo remains airtight and is free from penetration by minirnal. Pressures obtained in this type of silo are greater than those in other
rain. silos.and, 'ul1Jess the crop is pre-wilted in the field. the outward pressures exerted
An alternative rnethod of inhibiting thegrowth of ndesirable bacteria is to . on the bottom walls orthe tower can cause a serious problcm of cffluent Ilowand
reducc the moisture contcnt of the crop by wilting prior to ensiling. Lactic acid may even dumuge th~ structure 01 the silo." '
bactria have a relatively high tolerance to low moisture conditions and are able
to dominate lhe fermentation in high DM crops.!" Clostridiu are known to bc Surfare-walled clamp (Ir bunker si/o
purticularly sensitivo to watcr uvuilubility and thcy require vcry wet cunditions for
This.silu generally consists of three solid walls some 2 to 3 metres in he ight , and it
uctive dcvclopmcnt.'? With very we: crops.'i.e.ihosc with a DM concentrution of
is often 'b'uilt beneath a Dutch bam to protect the silage frorn lhe weather.r'" ..11>
,ibout ISO g kg-I. even the uchieveriient ora pl+value as low as LO rnuynot inhibit
The crop is generally ensiledin a series of wedgs, which 'ure laid' onupcn lhe
lostridial growth."
other. progressively along lhe silo. and the top is sealedwith plastic sheeting
The rate of lactic acid production is an important factor in inhibiting the growth
<\I,lripgthe course of filling.-1.2~Finally. tbe surface is weighted with.some suitable
of undesirable bacteria and in reducing fermentation Iosses. and rhis depe~ds
material, such as sandbags. tyres or bales of straw, to prevent re-en try of air. The
upon lhe initial lactic acid bacterial population on lhe ensiled crop and upon the
walls.ef buriker silos rnust be strong enough to withstand the thrust of tractors
ubstrate availability. This in turn is influenced by lhe degree of physical damage
used to consolidare the herbage, .and of lhe, silage itself.-'UH
(bruising, laceration, chopping and mincing). 21~2.1 Modern precision-chop forage
harvesters are capable of chopping herbage into particle lengths <25mm. With
FIr:xible-lI'alled silo
such material, plant sap is rapidly liberated and lactic acid bacterial growth is
timulated." Finely chopped silage of this type is more readily eaten by ruminant This type of silo was originally developed by theNational lnstitute of Agricultura!
mirnals than long or coarsely choppetl material.~~2h Engineering. England." and resern bles a bunker silo but with walls which can .
move ourwards. With this arrangernent, ir is possible to fil! the silo to aheight of
a~~uQ rnetres without exerting excessive pressure on the side walls .. The silage
SILOS' eventsally settles to a height of about 4 metres.
'ommercial silos.
VIlCL/um silo
The types of silo in which the farrner may choose to ferment his cropare very
vnri d and they huve beeri reviewed hy a number of workers'r':"' ..".11:.", For In.thevacuum silo. the forage is placed on IOp of a sheet of plastic and builtup 10
th~ re,q",ired heighl. A similar sheel (lI' ~alerial is thcn plact;l1 (lver rhe foragc IInd
(onvl!llience' commercial
". .
silos can bc classified inlo se.ven muin clllegories: stack
" . . .

'. .. - ".:. -~
.. . ',' .... ~ ::.: .; ..... :-. : : .... : .., . " .-,"'.' .
Zo-:";:-zc ,,-.' : ..
1-1 C?; -,- 1::'-'-
.I lhe cdges o" lhe shccting are joincd togcthcr using strip-scal. Thc uir inside lhe lhe tcsi-mbc , with l c.ipucity normully runging [rum 50 g to 250 g, 'lhe: tube is
silo is thenrernoved using a vaeuum pump, whkr~'also hclps to consolidate the
litted with some. kind of scaling devicc which pcrmits thecscupe of gases but "r,. II
" ) Iorage. 'This method is only successful as long :15 lhe silo rernains scaled. If lhe preve nts thc entrv of air. Suitable sealing devices are rubber stoppers carryng
plastic is darnaged during storage and air e nters thecs(i. lsses ean be as high as in either a ralve nf mercurv supported on a sintered glass di~c"< or. preferubly, a
lhe unprotected stack silo:' .' simple glass ur plustic fermentation trap fillet.l with watcr." Virtanerr'" used
I, l~' porcelain coniainers holding about 15 to 20 kg tlf ~resh crop which permifti~J DM
Plustic 5(//r5t1~( silo loss, curbon dioxide (COz) production , and cfllueut flow to be mo nitored. ir
Wieringa" lIsedglass preserving jars 01' I to ~. litres cupacity which could ~e
This type of silo was devised in Gerrnany. A speeial muchine Iills a tube ofplasric hcrrnetically seale d. whilc.Ohyumu and Musak i" used I litre gluss hottles wjh
. with chopped forage. which 11:Ispreviously passedjhrough a shaping Iunnel, I1ICreli rv "L'ais.
When Iilled. lhe sausaac has a diarnetcr 01' ahuut 2.4 metros hut eun bc 01' unv I,n the studies curried nut by Jones.?" thin guuge polycthylcne bugs (20 x 4{1em)
lcngth upto about 3rJ rnetres, J i' . -
were Iilled with herbaue und sealcd at lhe neck. These bugs wcrc then place d ina
'i larger. thick-guugc polvcthylene bag (40 X 80 em) litted with a simple connector
Big bale for attaching 10 a sucrion pump. Polyethylene bugs. placed in srnall PVC
In recent years the urnount of silage conserve d l~LS Iurge bales has increused cvlinde r s, have. also be e n use d for consoticlarion tests an d fri crion ~,
drumatically. und this system of making silage is .i1l;,'Vwidly practised in lhe UK n;easurem~nt;. 01
) : and in other countres.r"?" There are two basic tyPes of baling rnachines, the fxed Wilson and Wilkins"~ cvaluutcd laborutorycnsiting techniques by comparing IR
, I
chamher and the variable chamber, In the folMel'. the perirneter of lhe arasses und eizht legumes in test-tube silos holding 100 g of fresh herbage with the
)i ~amc crops e~,iled in PVC bags holding I tcnne of fresh material. Measurements
bale-forrning mechanism rernains in a fixed po~iliori so that lhe crop is only
I subjected 10 a rolling action and conscquent .cdmp~eS:~ion when it. tills lhe mude on silages frorn the test-tuhc silos were closcly corrclatcd with those fron
chamber. The centre core ofthe bales is less dens than lhe ou ter lavers which the PVC bags. Our own results at Edinburgh in general confirrn the above
): have becn rolled during formation.4U.4:! In lhe vari~ble cha~ber machi~e. lhe bale findings. aithough in some instunces ferrnentations in laboratory silos may h/
furming mechanism engages lhe bale from lhe start and expands during bale atypical unless precautions are raken to ensure that the herbage.contains normal
formation. The bale is thus subjected to contin,!lq:us~ rolling and consequently levels of lactic acid bactria or. alternativelj. herhage is inoculated with these
tends 10 b more densely uniform.?" organisrns prior to ensiling.
Bales vary in size but usually weigh frorn 0.5 10'0.75 tohne. The bales may be
stacked on a ground sheet and covered with plastic sheeting which is sealed aI lhe Pilot-scalc silo
) base ar. more commonly, placed into large plastic bags which are tied ut lhe neck. , This type (lf silo is used in experiments when a sufficient quantity of silage is
These bales are then stacked in' pyramid formation and lhe whole pyramid is . , needed for feeding trials with rurninants, or when detuiled measurements 01
) covered-witb a weighted plastjc sheet ar net 10, protecr.it from daifig?r-ltr~Wn"A -- ....~" ..;i 7 nutrienl lesses are required. An early experimental silo of this type was that used
) A recent innovation is the use of stretch lilm instead of plastic bags.' 1t is bv Watsan and Ferguson'" in 1937. which consisted of a scaled-down tower silo
claimed that lhe plastic film wrapping is cheaper than bags and makes the system made of woodor concrete, holding about I tonne of material. Golf and Gneist":'
less labour intensive.2A9 In a compurison.of bags versuswrapping , Braithwaite, used li similar silo made of steel. whieh had <Icapacity of 0.75 tonne , Burnett :Ind
" and Jones'" found that, providing the bales werei well-scaled, thcre was no f\lillel" used a scwuge pipe of height 1.8 metros an internal diarncter 1.2 metres.
difference in silage quality between bagged and wrapped big bules. However. the This pipe rested on :J solid concrete base through which passed an iron tube which
risk of poor fermentation or complete loss of a bale due to aerohic deterioration drained off lhe eff1uent. Nash'>(' used :;imilllr silos made of eonerete. each being
following damage during storage was greater wilh bagi;. Aerohic deterioral~(}n ill fittel.'l with a flIof. tllermocouples. and cfllucnt-colleeting appar:ltus. The
wrapped bales tended to be confined to ~he site of damage. Wrapping of low DM experiment:tl tOlver silos used at lhe USDA research cenlre aI Beltsvillefo1 in the
), bales is not recommended because of possible problems wilh sealing and 1950s were I1lade of enamelled steel and possessed s'lmpling ports. Each silo.
effluent. ~I which had :J diameter of 1.2 metres and a heighl of ~A metres, was capable af

\i Experimental silos
1 t being transported
An expcrinlcntal
for weighing purposes.
silo uni I designcd speeifil.'llIy for mcasuring losses during
ensilage was Duilt hy McOonald and Attwood.(I< The unit eonsisled of fllur silos.
.( r. each onstructed (lf steeland having a diameterof 1.2 metres an a hei~ht 01' 1.8 t'

LIII>Of(/wry silo mctrcs. E<Jch siln had scven sampling ports :lI1d ten thermocouples. and wa.~
I :r ' ~
Barnen27 has reviewed lhe literature on earl)' lahoTUtor;y techniques and has suspended from a weighing apparatu~ of lhe steelyard type. bolteu to l steel
described a range of different types {lf silo including t\=st-(ubes. ~~milk botlles,~.l beam. The wcighing lIpp<lratus was designed 1(1 counterbalance lhe whole 10m.!
glass jars.:>4 and glass cylinders. ~~Tht: most widdy u~ll type of I<lhoratory silo is and to measure the actual weight loss. The silo lIeld :Ibout I tonne of foragc and
the cquipmenl WilSsuflidcntly sensitive to n!cord a changc in \Vcight 010.1 kg.
111 .-
25. Dulphy .. LP. and Micllllcl. B.. (1975) Annales de Zll/JII('frl/(llllgie.h4 . 757-763.
111 111/0 un rxncrjmental bunker siloof 40 tonne capacity W;IS hui.t at Edinburgh .
. 2h, Deswysen, A.G .. Vanbdlc. M. nd Focart, M. (1<J7X)Journal o(rl",n,.iii.f!r Grossland
I' I Ilully I() measure gaseousand .eft1uent losses. This silo wasconstructed of
Societv; 33. I07-Il<i., ,
I I 111111 WUN rnounted on load cellswhich were supported on concrete pillars Bam~tt, A1- G. (I 'l54) Si/age Pt.'rmelllaliO/I. Butterwarth. Lond~n,.'
111 \110 til ground.,q ,
28. Murdoch. l.c (1961) N,(/kit/g and Feeding Si/age, Dairy Farmer (Bo6ks). Ipswch.
1'.,,11 Ibly lhe most sophisticated experimental silo unit W'dS that built aI 29. Raymond. W.F .. Shepperson, O. and Waltham. R. (I972) Forap,e Conservation IlIId
li, 1111 ~ hw Ig.'" which consisted of six sealed tower silos. each af2 to 3 tonnes Feeding; Farming Press, lpswich. "
, 11111' Iy, The first two of these were constructed of glass-lined steel, while the 30. Dulphy, l.P. (1984) Pusticulture, No. 63. 1-14.
1 UIII 11 "11 fou were built of glass fibre reinforced polyester resin. Ali silos were 31. Haigh. P.M. (1978) NeM' Zealand Iournal o/ Experimental Agriwlwr'e. 6.279-283.
, 11' hl C/r being weighed and .were equipped with facilities for continuous 32. Savoie, P .. Fertin, J.M. and: Wauthy. l.M. (1986) .Transactions Df lhe American
IUIWI\III rneasurement and analysis of gases. Society of Agticuiturol Engineers, 29. 1784-17X9.
33. Savoie, P, (1987) Apprlf!d Engineering ill Agriculturc; 3. 145-141.
I" MOI!' 1
1111 1I1111n~e taps for
ntly, silos mude af PVC have become
111 be rnanufactured to any size up to about
eftluenl collection. (,2.71.72
3 tonnes
for pilot-scale
and are usually
34. Hastings. M. (I972) Agricultura! Developmcnt
Review, No, S. 1-11,
(//1(/ Advisory Service Quarterly
35. Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food (1977) Silag, Bulletin 37. Her Majesty's
Stationerv Office , Loncon.
36. Johnsan:C'.. Clark, 1.1.. Machattie. K.L. and Watsou.. O.A.L. (19115)Silage Clamps:
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110 11 '(ln . J.E,: Heuderson, A.R, andCunningham. M. (19X71/'roceetlillgsoIr/reHIIr' 41{, Kennedy. S.J.
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Vf 1o, F. (19l!) Dei, WimclJtl[tseigmr Fuuer. 14: 294-303,. ., '. . Agricultura! Science 27, 271-2~J. ' " :' .
M Ir h. R. (197H) No!' Zealand JlILiT'Atrf o] Experimental grcullnf. 6~1271-279, '53. Johnson. B.C .. Peterson, W,'~:.Hegsted .. D.M . ind Bohste dt. G .. (I~41) Jurnul o{
(1 h~Qn. T .. Stirling. A.C .. Keddie. IUI.1. .ant! Rosenherger. R.F, ('1961) }OIlTIIll/ (lf Agriclllwral RtsearcJ,. 62. 337-J4!!. '.. . .'
54. Oldland. T.E .. Cox:T,R and ~inith:'J ,B. (111-11)}mll'lw/;;r l!tl' "l/1/rricUlI Soci(,I\' of
11'II/u:tI Bncle,;o!oKY, 24. (~I-'7~I..,' ','
Agroll(}I/I.~. 33. 3114-.113, . ,

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