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Main research question/goal
Can a silage additive improve silage quality as well as feeding value, specifically cell wall digestibility? A private company is asking this question for an innovative product (11GFT for grass and 11CFT for maize). The inoculant contains 3 strains of living lactic acid bacteria including Lactobacillus buchneri, which not only produces lactic acid but also acetic acid. Acetic acid is known to stimulate aerobic stability of the silage upon opening. Moreover, this bacterial strain is able to produce ferulate esterase, an enzyme that splits the connections between cell walls. ILVO use rumen incubation studies and feeding trials with lactating cows to measure whether this silage additive results in higher feed intake and better performances.

Research approach
A first cut of English ryegrass (Lolium perenne) is harvested at 4 growth stages in the first year and 3 in the second year. It is then prewilted at a dry matter content of about 35% and chopped. Forage maize is harvested at two maturity stages (hard dough and grain ripe) in the first year and at the hard dough stage in the second year. The University College of Ghent makes micro-silos of untreated and treated material and determines silage quality. ILVO Animal Sciences determines the rumen degradability of the organic matter and NDF in fistulated cows. Finally, feeding trials with dairy cows are carried out to investigate the effect on feed intake and milk production results.


Ensiling grass and maize ensures that cows have feed during the winter. When ensiling conditions are not favourable, silage additives can be used to improve silage quality. The claimed benefits of these products must be verified so the farmer and agricultural contractor can make an objective and accurate product choice. The results of this research will be communicated at international congresses and published in both scientific and trade publications.



External partner(s)
Hogeschool Gent - Dept. BIOT
Effective start/end date1/04/1031/03/13

ID: 4154901