“One way to maximize forage quality is to avoid or at least minimize butyric acid in hay crop silages,” says Kurt Cotanch with the W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy, N.Y.

Cotanch provides these suggestions for minimizing the risk of butyric acid silage fermentation:

• Chop hay at the proper dry matter percent (32-35 percent).

• Avoid soil contamination of the forage.

• Avoid harvest delays. “If faced with impending wet weather and delayed harvest, it may be better to chop on the wetter side when forage is fresh rather than waiting and losing all water-soluble carbohydrates needed to fuel a proper fermentation,” he says.

• If possible, consider segregating forage at high risk of butyric acid fermentation rather than spreading it throughout the silage pile. Or, cut your losses and compost it.

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Source: May 2012 W.H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute Farm Report