Effect of additives and filling methods on whole plant corn silage quality, fermentation characteristics and in situ digestibility

  • Jiao, Ting (College of Grassland Science, Key Laboratory of Grassland Ecosystem, Gansu Agricultural University) ;
  • Lei, Zhaomin (College of Animal Science and Technology, Gansu Agricultural University) ;
  • Wu, Jianping (College of Animal Science and Technology, Gansu Agricultural University) ;
  • Li, Fei (College of Animal Science and Technology, Gansu Agricultural University) ;
  • Casper, David P. (Casper's Calf Ranch) ;
  • Wang, Jianfu (College of Animal Science and Technology, Gansu Agricultural University) ;
  • Jiao, Jianxin (College of Animal Science and Technology, Gansu Agricultural University)
  • Received : 2020.11.26
  • Accepted : 2021.02.27
  • Published : 2021.11.01


Objective: This project aimed to evaluate the effects of both different additives and filling methods on nutritive quality, fermentation profile, and in situ digestibility of whole plant corn silage. Methods: Whole plant corn forage harvested at 26.72% dry matter (DM) was chopped and treated with two filling methods, i) fill silos at one time (F1), ii) fill silos at three times (F3), packing samples into one/three silo capacity at the first day, another one/three capacity at the second day, then one/three at the third day, three replicates. For each replicate, samples were treated with three additives, i) control (CTRL, no additive), ii) Sila-Max (MAX, Ralco Nutrition Inc., Marshall, MN, USA), and iii) Sila-Mix (MIX, Ralco Nutrition Inc., USA). With three replicates of each secondary treatment, there were nine silos, 54 silos in total. Each silo had a packing density of 137.61 kg of DM/m3. All silos were weighed and stored in lab at ambient temperature. Results: After 60 d of ensiling, all items showed good silage fermentation under MAX filled one time or three times (p<0.01). Higher silage quality for all additives was obtained at filling one time than that filled three times (p<0.01). The highest DM and lowest DM loss rate (DMLR) occurred to MAX treatment at two filling methods (p<0.01); Digestibility of acid detergent fiber, neutral detergent fiber (NDF), and curde protein had the same results as silage quality (p<0.01). Yield of digestible DM and digestible NDF also showed higher value under MAX especially for filling one time (p<0.05). Conclusion: All corn silages showed good fermentation attributes (pH<4.0). The forage filled one time had higher silage quality than that filled three times (p<0.01). MAX with homofermentative lactic acid bacteria enhanced the lactic acid fermentation, silage quality and nutrient digestibility, and so improved the digestible nutrient yield.



The authors would like to thank the Gansu Agricultural University, Lanzhou, China, and the Director of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station for financial support of this research project. The authors also express their appreciation to the farm crew and personnel at the Lintao Dairy and Animal Research Farm for the care of the animals. We greatly appreciate Ting Liu, Shuru Cheng, Shengguo Zhao, Jianyong Liang and Xiongxiong Li for their assistance with sample collection and analysis. The authors gratefully acknowledge Ralco, Inc., Marshall, MN, for providing the additives Max and MIX used in this research.


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