ENSILING/SILAGE MAKING AND IT’S IMPORTANTS FOR DAIRY FARMING

Sarat Sekhar Bora and
Karishma Borah


In recent time, dairy farming has become an important component of farming system from sustainable point of view. In dairy farming, we must not only think about the rearing of the farm animals, but also think about the preparation of feed for the cattle. This has become an equally important prospect of dairy farming.This is because it is essential to provide sufficient green fodder and feed to the farm animals in order to enhance their productivity.Small holder and medium holder farmers having limited land and production capacity, find it difficult to maintain good milk production throughout the year, due to availability of insufficient feed. Many are forced to buy animal feed at high prices, just to keep their animals alive.

 In this respect, silage making can be a profitable waywhich can be prepared by conserving the forage through natural pickling process. Silage making is the green succulent roughage preserved under controlled anaerobic fermentation in the absence of oxygen, by compacting green chops in air and water tight receptacles. The ensiling process, in the absence of oxygen, leads to the fermentation of water soluble carbohydrates to produce organic acids which increase acidity of the material (pH about 4.0). Such anaerobic acid production (mainly lactic acid) arrests the growth of bacteria and moulds as well as inactivates putrefying organisms. As a result of the process reduces nutrient losses and change in nutritive value. It serves as one of the best method of fodder conservation. Silage has better acceptability, digestibility and nutritive value.

Suitable crops for silage making and stage of harvesting: Harvesting the crops at 50% flowering to milk or dough stage can make good quality silage of crops like maize, sorghum and pearl millet. For natural grasses and Cenchrus, they should be harvested at flowering stage.

Methods of Silage making: Pit, trench, bunker and tower silos are used for silage the green fodder. Various types and sizes are used depending upon the availability of green fodder and the convenience of the farmer.
  • At first, about 1 feet layer of chopped materials are put into the silo either as such or after chopping and it is well packed to reduce air. Better packing may be obtained by trampling with tractor or bullocks.
  • After that, curd solution and molasses in the form of jaggery solution are spread over the entire layer. The curd solution provides the beneficial microorganism like Lactobacillus and the jaggery solution provides readily available food material.
  • Again, another 1 feet layer of chopped materials are put and then the curd and molasses solution is spread. This process is repeated to the top of the structure, leaving some space, in order to tie the structure and make it air tight removing the vacuum inside it.
  • Top portion need to be sealed with mud plaster or covered by polythene or alkathene sheets.
  • The curd and the molasses solution are absorbed very well by the materials.
  • It takes about 4-6 weeks to be ready for use as silage feed.
  • Once is opened for feeding, then every day at least half a foot of the material have to be removed to avoid spoilage if the silage.
  • The Non-transparent silage structure is better than the transparent silage structure as it takes less time to become silage. This is because microbes have optical property and thus they work better in dark.

About the authors: 

Mr. Sarat Sekhar Bora, did his B.Sc. in Agriculture & M.Sc. in Agronomy from AssamAgricultural University (AAU), Jorhat- 13, Assam (India) with first class. At present, he has been pursuing Ph.D. in the Department of Agronomy, AAU, Jorhat. He is doing his research in the field of Integrated Framing System and Agrostology. He is engaged in writing various articles and research papers.

Miss. Karishma Borah, did her B.Sc. in Agriculture & M.Sc. in Horticulture from Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Jorhat- 13, Assam (India) with first class. At present, she has been pursuing Ph.D. in the Department of Horticulture, AAU, Jorhat. She is doing her research in aspect of Floriculture and landscaping. She is engaged in writing various articles and research papers.


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