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Pashu Gyan
3 Apr

Silage: A Nutritious Feed for Animals

In some states of our country, due to excessive cold or excessive heat, green fodder is not readily available. In such circumstances, feeding silage to farm animals is a better option. Feeding silage helps to overcome deficiencies of several nutrients in the animals' bodies. However, it should not be fed in excessive quantities. Additionally, always feed animals high-quality silage. If you are unfamiliar with silage, please go through this post. Here you can obtain information related to the quantity of silage to feed, its benefits, and how to identify high-quality silage.

What is Silage?

  • Silage is a type of animal feed made from fresh green fodder preserved in a moist, airtight condition. The sugar present in the fodder crops transforms into lactic acid, which aids in preserving it for an extended period.

Which Crops Can Be Used for Making Silage?

  • Crops such as maize, sorghum, barley, pearl millet, napier grass, oats, guinea grass, wheat, rye, etc., can be used for making silage.

Identifying High-Quality Silage

  • Color: High-quality silage visually ranges from light green to yellowish-green or with a slight brownish hue. After exposure to air or spoilage, its color changes and becomes black.
  • Texture: Silage of high quality has a moist and slightly sticky texture. It should be soft and tender. If the silage is too dry, it indicates improper packing, which can lead to quick spoilage.
  • Odor: High-quality silage emits a scent of lactic acid. If sour or musty odors start to emerge, it indicates poor quality or spoilage of the silage.
  • pH Level: The pH level of high-quality silage should be between 3.8 and 4.2.
  • Moisture: The moisture content in quality silage should be between 65 to 70 percent.
  • Lactic Acid: In high-quality silage, the level of lactic acid should range from 3 to 14 percent.
  • Nutrients: High-quality silage should contain adequate levels of protein, energy, minerals, and other nutrients. The quantity of nutrients can be determined through laboratory analysis.

How to Prepare Silage?

  • Cut maize, barley, etc., green fodder into pieces of 1 to 2 inches. It should have a moisture content of 65 to 70 percent.
  • Then prepare a pit of 50 sq meters.
  • Line the walls and surface of the pit with cow dung properly.
  • Fill it with 500 to 600 kg of chopped green fodder, 25 kg of molasses, and 1.5 kg of urea in layers one upon another.
  • Press it well with grass on top to prevent air and water from entering the pit.
  • Let this mixture sit for at least 45 days.
  • After that, the silage will be ready.

Dosage of Silage for Animals

  • The quantity of silage fed to animals can vary depending on various factors. These factors include the species of the animals, their weight, age, and level of activity.
  • As a general guideline, dairy animals should ideally be fed around 5 kg of silage per day.
  • To determine the appropriate quantity, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian or a nutrition specialist.

Benefits of Feeding Silage to Farm Animals

  • Silage can be used when there is an insufficient amount of green fodder available.
  • Silage is an extremely nutritious fodder. Its consumption provides balanced nutrition to animals and helps overcome nutrient deficiencies.
  • Silage contains abundant energy, protein, and minerals. Its consumption increases the milk production capacity of animals and improves their health. It is an excellent diet for animals.
  • Silage has a good shelf life. When properly packed without exposure to air and water, it does not deteriorate for a long time.
  • Compared to dry fodder, silage takes up less space.
  • High-quality fodder can be obtained at low cost.

In case of a shortage of green fodder, what do you include in the diet of farm animals? Please tell us your answer through comments. For more information related to animal health and their diet, follow the 'Pashu Gyan' channel now. Also, don't forget to like and share this post.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What should be the pH level of high-quality silage?

A: The pH level of high-quality silage should be between 3.8 to 4.2.

Q: How much dry matter is typically present in silage?

A: Typically, silage contains around 30 to 40% dry matter, which depends on factors such as the type of crop, maturity stage of the crop at harvest, and storage conditions.

Q: What is the difference between silage and grass?

A: Grass is a type of plant that is cut and given to animals as fodder, much like green fodder. Many times, grass is also left for animals to graze in open fields. Green grass cannot be stored for a long time. On the other hand, silage is a type of fodder prepared from crops such as maize, sorghum, napier grass, etc. After preparation, it is packed and stored in air-tight conditions. Grass can also be used to make silage.

Q: How long does it take to make silage?

A: The time taken for silage to be ready depends on several factors, including the type of crop used for making it, the moisture content in the crop, the method of silage preparation, etc. Generally, it takes around 3 to 6 weeks for silage to be ready. After that, it can be included in the diet of farm animals.

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