Forages occupy the base of the “dairy nutrition pyramid,” says Greg Anderson, dairy nutritionist for Engineered Storage Products Company. Yet, poor forage quality is the root of many problems on dairies.

“We’ve overlooked the bottom part of that pyramid,” Anderson said at World Dairy Expo. High ash levels are one example of a forage-quality problem that can impact cow performance and health. An oxygen-limiting storage structure is one way to minimize poor fermentation and spoilage losses that can lead to high ash levels, Anderson said. In addition, minimize soil contamination — another cause of forage problems — during filling and feedout.