Callie Courtney, Forage Specialist, All American Co-op
firstname.lastname@example.org (563) 880-3080
CCP 1 Decision Making
- Identify who is the decision maker to start and stop the harvest and ensiling process.
- Who will make decisions regarding whether certain loads of forage are included in the bunker/pile or separated for feeding Immediately.
- BOTTOM LINE – Identify the decision makers and empower them to make the “right” decision in a timely manner.
CCP 2 Maturity
- Maturity reflects the antagonism between quantity (yield) and quality (digestibility) such that one additional day equals 100lbs of yield/acre and -2 to -5 RFV.
- Plan with a forage team and nutritionist on cutting target. Use scissor clips and PEAQ stick to estimate cutting date.
- BOTTOM LINE – Optimize yield quantity and quality with agronomic considerations for the stand.
CCP 3 Moisture
- The target for wilted alfalfa moisture is 60% (40% DM), with a narrow ideal range of 58-62% (32-42% DM).
- Alfalfa dries fastest in wide shallow swaths exposed to direct sunlight when humidity is below average, wind speed is above average, and soil moisture is below average.
- If a load or two comes in too wet above 65% moisture or higher DO NOT ensile, separate for immediate feeding after consulting with your nutritionist!
- BOTTOM LINE – Hitting target moisture is critical for significantly reducing the risk of clostridic (butyric acid) fermentation, achieving pile density, excluding oxygen during pack, and retaining leaves during harvest.
CCP 4 Water Soluble Carbohydrates (WSC or Sugars)
- WSC feed the epiphytic and inoculant bacteria to grow and produce lactic acid.
- Rain and heavy dew are “re-wetting” events that can reduce WSC of alfalfa making the crop much more difficult to ferment.
- BOTTOM LINE – Maximize WSC by reducing the risk/effects of re- wetting events
CCP 5 Ash
- Plant mineral and contaminating soil ash (dirt) contribute indigestible nutrients as well as enhance the already high buffering capacity of alfalfa which inhibits good fermentation.
- Contamination soil ash is the most likely source of soil- borne clostridia spores and other endobacteria that can lead to undesirable fermentation, especially clostridia fermentation and high butyric acid levels.
- Lower cutting heights increased yield, reduces quality, and increases ash content of alfalfa. Cutting heights of 3-4 inches are ideal in most situations.
- Adjust equipment to minimize soil disturbance and ash accumulation….. we are not landscaping.
- BOTTOM LINE – Minimize contaminating ash as it serves as a non- nutritive buffer and source of clostridia spores and Enterobacter.
The big take away from all this is:
- Cut alfalfa 3-4 inches high
- Keep moisture 58%-62%.
- Keep Ash content below 10%.
- Use PEAQ stick reading to determine cutting timeline.
- Use inoculant for faster Ph drop and better fermentation.
- Pack forage in a 3-4-inch layer and allow enough time for pack tractor between loads.
Remember the team at All American Co-op can help you with any forage question you have as well as the following services
- PEAQ Stick Readings
- Density Readings
- Scissors cuttings
Inoculants Available for Haylage
Silo Solve MC
- Ideal for a range of crops especially at higher moisture prone to clostridic fermentation
- Fast starter, strong finisher, patented clostridia control
- Fast and Efficient fermentation, improve DM retention
Silo Solve FC
- Ideal for all crops especially for those that will be fed soon after harvest
- Fast starter, fast finisher, oxygen scavenging LAB, L. buchneri strain
- Fast and efficient fermentation, improved dry matter retention, early feed out, Aerobic stability, superior yeast and mild inhibition.
Biomax – Pro
- Ideal for all crops across the broad range of moistures stored in a variety of structures.
- Fast starter, strong finisher, proven inhibition of 5 yeasts and 2 molds
- Very fast and efficient fermentation, excellent dry matter retention