Progress in the past 50 years is reviewed with reference to the major scientific disciplines involved in forage conservation. Hybrid cultivars of maize (Zea mays L.), the forage harvester, the large baler, polyethylene covering for silos, stretch-wrap for bales, and additives designed to improve the preservation of moist hay and the fermentation of silage all contributed to improved technological efficiency. The major biochemical pathways involved in silage fermentation have been described together with the effects on fermentation and aerobic stability during the feed-out phase of bacterial inoculation. Total mixed rations have improved efficiency of feed use by livestock. The value of covering bunker and clamp silos has been established, with recent progress in the development of co-extruded oxygen barrier film. Challenges for the future include improving the hygienic quality of silage to reduce risks to animal health, optimising crop and silage composition for biogas digesters, reducing loss of feed nitrogen to the soil and atmosphere, improving silo safety and developing edible sealants for silos.
Full citation: WILKINSON, J.M. 2014. Fifty years progress in forage conservation and challenges for the future. In: Jambor, V., Malá, S., Vosynková, B. and Kumprechtová, D. (Eds) Proceedings, 16th International Conference Forage Conservation, Brno, Czech Republic, June 2014, 9-23
To download the full article click here.