Corn Silage Overview
Before we jump to Corn Silage, let us first understand what silage is.
Silage is a kind of high-moisture and fermented food that can be used to feed sheep, cattle and other such cud-chewing animals. It is usually made from grass crops such as sorghum, maize and various other cereals.
Corn Silage is also a kind of silage that is fed to animals of dairy farms and beef cattle farms, mostly because of its attribute of being easily digestible and a high-energy crop. Other quality of this silage includes that it helps milk production and also requires less space for storage than compared to hay.
Corn silage is made via the use of pits and towers, or even sacks if making them in small quantities, but usually pits are used to produce them as mostly they are made in large quantities.
The pit that is being used to make silage needs to be safe from rats and away from direct sunlight. It must have a high elevation or a bit sloppy to avoid being spoiled from rain water.
Ideally, the corn silage preparation must have dry content of about 30% and the rest of the content is of moisture. You can check this by taking a small fodder bundle and twisting them with your hands to see if no moisture comes out then it is ready to ensile.
Start off by making a pit and spreading a large polythene sheet on and all around it. Make sure it is properly done and the corn silage does not come in contact with the soil. Chop the forage to about one inch using whichever tool feasible. Ready the initial layer by spreading the chopped forage evenly onto the pit and about 15cm high.
After you have done that, dilute molasses with water at a 1:2 ratio and evenly spray it over the layer of forage. Trample on it wearing a clean pair of boots to bring out as much air as possible so as to prevent growth of fungi.
Now, repeat this process of making a layer and then carry out the fungi prevention method for all layers. After you are done with the final layer, properly cover it all up with a polythene sheet.
Cover the heap of corn silage with a thick layer of soil of about 2 feet which shall keep it safe from many corruptive elements. If properly done, then the corn silage can be kept for more than a year.
Opening the pit
It usually takes about 30-40 days for the corn silage to properly mature and be ready to be fed to animals.
An important thing to remember: never open the whole pit at once, only open till the part that is required at the time. This precaution is to ensure longer life of the corn silage, but once you have opened it, try to use them all up as soon as possible.
There are many determinates and factors that are taken into consideration when checking the quality of corn silage such as smell, taste and color. But the most accurate method is by the measurement of pH level inside the pit.
A pH of about 3.5 to 4.2 indicates that the corn silage is fresh and acidic which is an excellent condition. It must give out a vinegar-like smell and should be acidic in taste.
These are some of the things you need to keep in mind when making corn silage for your animals. The better silage you make for them the better chances of them staying healthy and living longer.