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Hay and silage

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Hay and silage

  1. 1. Methods Of Making Quality Hay And Silage Himachal Motghare Grass is the cheapest source of feed for any livestock enterprise and effective utilisation of grass and its management is the key to getting the most of your grassland. Ruminant animals depend on grass as a major source of energy and protein as well as vitamins and minerals. So to take maximum return from the grass there is a way to make qualitied hay and silage from these. Silage contains 1%-5% of free sugar. This can be fermented anaerobically into a lactic fermentation that will remain stable for years or even decades. Ideally grass should be cut, allowed to dry a little to 75% moisture content, and then chopped and taken to the store (silo) and compacted and sheeted with polythene sheet to exclude air. Silage has a characteristic and pleasant smell. Haylage usually has a moisture content of 75% to 55%. Hay is grass that is cut, dried and stored by humans to be used at a later date i.e hay is sun- dried grass whiles silage is fermented pasture(grass)This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ">. Hay making is the process of turning green, perishable forage into a product that can be safely stored and easily transported without danger of spoilage, while keeping nutrient loss to a minimum. This involves reducing its moisture content by drying the forage in the sun. The process of drying the green crop without significant change in aroma, flavour and nutritive quality of forage is called "curing". This involves reducing the moisture content of green forages, so that they can be stored without spoilage or further nutrient loss. Feeding hay to livestock helps reduce the amount of concentrate feeding, and thereby, the cost of feeding. The low moisture content of hay considerably reduces cost. Objective of making hay and silage The objective behindmaking hay and silage is to preserve forage resources for the dry season (hot countries) or for winter (temperate countries) in order to ensure continuous regular feed for livestock, either to sustain growth, fattening or milk production, or to continue production in difficult periods when market prices are highest. Suitable crops for making hay Crops with thin stems and more leaves are better suited for haymaking as they dry faster than those with thick, pity stem and small leaves. These may include Oats, Desmodium, Lucerne, Maize, Sorghum, Napier grass, Rhodes grass. Leguminous fodder crops (e.g. Cow pea, Lucerne, etc) should be harvested at the flower initiation stage or when crown buds start to grow. Grasses and similar fodder crops should be harvested at the pre-flowering stage. At this stage, the crop has maximum nutrients and green matter. After flowering and seeding, grasses contain fewer nutrients. In order to make the process of curing easier, the fodder should preferably be harvested when air humidity is low.
  2. 2. Basic method of making hay  Forage is cut before it is fully mature (long before it has seeded) to maximize its nutritive value. Although cutting hay early will result in lower total volume, the increase in nutritive value will more than compensate for reduced yields.  Leaves are more nutritious than the stems, and so when cutting forage, it is important that it is cut with as much leaf and as little stem as possible.  Do not leave cut forage to dry in a moist environment, as this will encourage the growth of moulds. These can be extremely harmful to livestock and to people handling it.  The cut forage is laid out in the sun in as thin a layer as possible, and raked a few times and turned regularly to hasten drying.  Chopping forage into small pieces after drying will hasten the dying process.  The drying process may take between 2 to 3 days.  Hay should not be over dried as it may start to ferment and also become a fire hazard.  The dried hay should ideally be stored in form of bales when the moisture content is low, ideally less than 15%. This helps storage and requires less space. Leaves are more nutritious than the stems, and so when cutting forage, it is important that it is cut with as much leaf and as little stem as possible. However, during drying, the leaf (being more brittle) will tend to shatter. Hay should therefore be handled with care, to try and minimize the amount of leaf that is lost in this way. Crops with thick and juicy stems can be dried after chaffing to speed up the drying process and to prevent loss of nutrients. Field curing is conducted during bright sunny weather but may result in bleaching of the forage and loss of leaves due to shattering. To avoid this, drying can be done in barns by passing hot air through the forage. Although artificial drying produces hay of good quality, it is expensive and beyond the reach of small and marginal farmer but can be attempted on a community basis in areas where there is a need, and the necessary facilities. Storage of hay  Hay must be stored in a dry environment.  Hay can be baled and stored under cover or can also be stored by creating hay stacks. Stacks may be covered by plastic sheets to keep out rain and prevent from exposure to excessive sun. Problems with hay making  If hay is dried in a moist environment, for example during heavy rains season, mould may grow on the hay. These moulds can be extremely toxic to animals as well as the people handling it.  In such cases it is advisable to wait till the end of the rainy season before cutting the forage. This may lead to lower nutritional content in the hay, but this is better than toxic hay. The resultant may be supplemented with other feeds.  On the other hand, drying the hay too fast may lead to shattering of the delicate parts of the plant, causing a subsequent loss of nutrients.  To avoid this, drying can be done in barns by passing hot air through the forage. Although artificial drying produces hay of good quality, it is expensive, but can be
  3. 3. attempted on a community basis in areas where there is a need, and the necessary facilities. (NR International,Livestock Production Programme In short for hay “the crop is cut and then repeatedly spread during the day and rowed up at night until the moisture content is reduced to under 15%, and preferably near 10%. It is then baled and carted to the stack. A thin stemmy crop can be turned into hay in 48 hours under hot conditions, but a thick leafy crop can take weeks.” Silage-making Silage-making is a fermentation process aimed at preserving forage in its wet state away from air. One is seeking to lose minimum dry matter and nutritional value and to avoid creating products toxic to the animal. Good silage is light brown in colour, has a sharp taste and little smell as its lactic acid content is right. It is very stable and can be kept for years if required To obtain good silage, it is necessary to:  Use airtight silos (total anaerobiosis); several types of silo are used around the world: o tunnel silo, trench silo, corridor silo, tower silo, etc., o collect forage which is not earth-soiled, chopped and then piled up,  If necessary apply additional techniques such as pre-tedding for forage with high water content, or use of preservatives (sugar products, formic acid, anti-moulds, etc.) to improve preservation.  It is essential to harvest forage at the best time, from the point of view of nutritional quality, quantity available and climatic conditions, and then to store it properly to reduce losses. Additives are available to help maximise the quality of silage produced. There are three main types of additives:  Sugars/carbohydrates – by adding extra sugar or molasses the crop is more able to produce lactic acid. Some additives contain materials to stimulate the lactobacilli bacteria.  Acids – formic and sulphuric acid are applied at a rate of between 3–5 litres per tonne as the grass is picked up in the field. This reduces the quantity of lactic acid needed to reach a stable pH.  Preservatives – these suppress chemical reactions and allow the fermentation process more easily. These are usually within acid additives. Round-Bale-Silage Round bale silage is a relatively new method of preserving forage. It is a very flexible system because of its low capital costs. It is a combination of hay and silage making and has certain advantages and disadvantages over other forage preservation systems. Round bale silage is simply forage of a relatively high moisture content that is baled with a round baler and then stored in a sealed container, usually a plastic bag. Both grasses and legumes can be preserved as round bale silage if proper techniques are followed. It is much easier to make good hay crop silage in silos than in large round bales.
  4. 4. Round bale silage has three distinct advantages over haymaking or conventional silage making:  Harvesting forage as round bale silage has the potential of minimizing harvest losses.  Round bale silage requires a relatively low initial investment of capital.  Round bale silage also is an extremely flexible system
  5. 5. Silage Preparation by KVK Baramati Silage preparation is one of the important methods for storage of green fodder for dairy animals & it is necessary to adopt this method by Indian dairy farmers on large scale in situations like drought or heavy rainfall or scarcity of fodder. Silage making means preservation of chaffed cereal green fodder in anaerobic condition by way of fermentation method. In anaerobic condition (no air inside pit/tank),with the help of micro organisms, sugar contained in green fodder is converted in to Lactic acid ,which help to preserve the green fodder for longer duration. Respiratory function of living cells present in green chaffed fodder utilises Oxygen in air tight condition & releases water & carbon dioxide in closed environment in pit/tank. Due to Carbon dioxide releases in pit/tank, air inside is expelled outside as well as organism which depends on oxygen (Like bacteria & Fungi) cannot withstand in CO2 atmosphere in Tank/Pit. These effects in to preservation of chaffed green fodder in silo pit/tank as silage for longer duration (6 months or max. a year if good care is taken). Essential fodder crops for silage making To prepare best quality silage, cereal green fodder like Green fodder maize, Fodder sorghum, Bajara, Hybrid Napier, Sugar cane tops, Oat, Marwel etc are required. Preference for cereal green fodder (monocotyledons) is due to it has more sugar content than protein, as sugar is utilised in fermentation process to make lactic acid by microorganisms. These cereal fodder crops have hard stem, which takes more time for drying in making hay of these crops, so it is better to use these kinds of crops for making silage than hay. Benefits of silage making  Silage is storage system of green fodder which keeps all parts of fodder in appropriate condition for feeding than any other system of storage of fodder.  Silage requires less space for storage as it is pressed in pit/tank than hay making.  For daily cutting, transporting & chaffing of fodder in traditional way requires more labour &time but in case of silage, fodder cutting, transport, chaffing is done at one time only, so it is less labour & time consuming practice. Land under fodder cultivation is emptied, and immediately it is used for plantation of other crops. So farmers’ can take more crops in same land in a year against traditional way where land is reserved for fodder until all crops is harvested.  Silage is prepared in closed & air tight condition so there is no danger of fire. (In hay making, dry fodder is stocked & exposed for fire like situation)  Due to lactic acid in silage, it is easily digestible to animals, so energy required for digestion is used for other purposes like milk production.etc.  Silage is tasty & flavoured, so it increases appetite of dairy animals.
  6. 6.  Important thing behind to adopt silage is in scarcity it provide supply of fodder to dairy animals. Situations like drought, high rainfall & scarcity of fodder, farmers may use silage for feeding to dairy animals. (Rain fed area where shortage of green fodder is for March to June & in high rainy area or water logged lands, it is impossible to cultivate or harvest fodder)  Due to treatment of additive for silage, farmers can supply energy, mineral & vitamins to dairy animals. Planning for silage making There are two methods for silage making which are vastly used i.e. Pit method or tank method. These two methods are economically viable for dairy farmers. For planning of silage, following aspects needs to pay attention-How many dairy animals farmer’s have? How many days farmer’s have to feed animals with silage? Is sufficient green fodder is available with farmer to prepare required silage? On the above points, decide to plan for silage making, there is example for you- -One dairy farmer has four adult milching dairy animals. He has to plan for silage for four summer months (i.e. March to June), so go through following points- There are four milking dairy animals Farmers have to make silage for four months i.e. 120 days Maximum per day feeing of silage is 20 kg per animal so per day feeding for four animals as 80 kg. So for four months i.e. 120 days for four animals requirement of silage is 9600 kg.This means 9600kg of chaffed green fodder is require to make silage for four dairy animals for four months. In one cubic foot in pit or tank (1 cubic foot = 1 foot long × 1 foot wide × 1 foot high),contains 16 kg of chaffed green fodder. To decide dimension of pit/tank for 9600 kg chaffed green fodder ,you may divide it with 16 kg, so you may have to make 600 cubic feet of pit/tank as 20 foot long × 6 foot wide × 5 foot high. Pit/tank method for silage making Depending upon local situation like ground water level, number of animals & duration of feeding silage to animals, decide shape & size of constructing pit/tank for silage making. For pit method, select location for making pit at higher level on ground so that rain waer may not percolate in to pit. In rectangular pit, corner edges should be making round so that
  7. 7. while filling & pressing chaffed fodder, air will not remain inside in the corners of pit or tank. Wall of pit/tank should be air proof to avoid air too come inside in pit /tank through cracks or crevices .To avoid this situation, plaster wall of silo pit or tank with cement or moistened soil. If ground water level is nearer, then go for building tank for silage making than pit method. If plastering cement to the wall of pit/tank is uneconomical, then you may use HDPE plastic paper (200 micron) to cover pit/tank inside out position. Treatment for Silage  For making best quality & balanced silage, needs proper treatment of additives like-  Per ton of chaffed green fodder requires 1 kg Urea, 2 kg jaggary, 1 kg common salt, 1 kg mineral mixture & 1 litre of Whey.  Prepare separate solution in 15 to 20 litres of water for Urea, Jaggary, Mineral mixture & common salt in separate pots/buckets & then spread it on layer of pressed chaffed green fodder while filling silo pit/tank. Procedure for filling silo pit/tank When fodder crop is in cob stage or Tussling stage, harvest it for preparation of silage. Very mature stage is not good for preparing silage as its sugar content is decreased as well as fibre percentage in increased; this kind of fodder is less suitable for silage making. After harvesting fodder crops, let it dry for 5-6 hours in shed so that moisture content of fodder will decreases from 80% to 65-70%.Care to be taken to avoid silage making in rainy days or crops containing dew drops in winter season because moisture is more in this situation so there may be chances for development of mould in silo pit during storage period. Following steps to be taken while filling silo pit-  Prior to filling silo pit / tank, clean& dry it.  Cover with plastic film inside pit/tank in such way that it will cover all sides of pit/tank.  For making silage, chaffing of fodder is essential component. With the help of chaff cutter machine, make pieces of 1.5c.m. to 2 c.m. length of green maize.sorghum,sugarcane tops,marwel,Fodder bajara etc for filling silo pit.  Prepare separate solution in 15 to 20 litres of water for Urea, Jaggary, Mineral mixture & common salt in separate pots/buckets & then spread it on layer of pressed chaffed green fodder while filling silo pit/tank.  Start to fill chaffed green fodder in pit or tank.  After making 4” thick layer of chaffed green fodder, press it with wooden plank(Like Mortar) in such a way that air will not entangled in chaffed fodder. Then sprinkle it with prepared solution of Jaggary, Mineral mixture, Urea, Common salt & whey.
  8. 8.  Follow the same procedure until filling of pit/tank 1 to 1.5 feet above the ground level(In pit).Then covet it from plastic film from all side carefully.  Covet it with Trash, Wheat straw, Soil & dry hay to protect it from entering rain water in to it. If possible to temporary arrangement of shed above the silo pit/tank.  It will require 45 to 60 days to make good quality of silage. Use of silage After 8-10 weeks, silage is ready as feed for animals. Open pit/tank initially from one side of for use. If it is not in use, then cover it carefully with plastic film so that air will not go inside in silage. Initially fed animals with 5-6 kg silage by adding it with chaffed green fodder to develop taste to animals. Once animal likes sweet-sour taste of silage; it will eat it with good liking. Quality of Silage Mould : If silage while filling pit/tank, not well pressed; there will be growth of mould. Odour : Good quality silage has sweet & sour taste. Colour : Good quality silage has faint green or brownish colour. Rotten silage has black colour. pH : Good quality silage has pH of 3.5 to 4.2.