Everyone has different preferences. Some people prefer cool weather, others prefer warmer climates. Animals also have their preferences. Crocodiles favor a much warmer environment than penguins. Other living organisms like specific environments, too.
Different bacterial strains perform much differently in the presence of different crops. Pioneer studies these differences to determine which ones will proliferate and produce helpful acids in silage made from different crops.
Different strains of bacteria produce different levels of lactic acid in different crops. By understanding which bacterial lines work best in each crop, Pioneer can create more effective inoculants.
Suited to the crop
In the 30 years Pioneer has been developing forage additives, the company has learned a lot about various strains, improving the lineup with each new generation of products. Customers can rest assured the inoculants and additives they buy from Pioneer will suit their specific crop needs.
"Pioneer offers a strong lineup of inoculants for customers," says Kyle Whitaker, forage additive marketing manager at Pioneer. "We’re all about getting the maximum benefit to the grower, which is why we do crop-specific testing on all of our products. We know inoculants designed for high moisture corn may not work as well on grass silage. We test every potential product to determine the reaction on all silage crops."
Pioneer has continually improved inoculants through five distinctive generations of forage additives.
"In the late 1970s, our main goal was to assist in fermentation," Whitaker says. "The products in that first generation were Pioneer® brand inoculants 1177 and 1174."
In the second generation, Pioneer worked on fermentation with crop-specific products. Pioneer characterized bacterial strains by how they made use of sugars unique to the crop being ensiled. Certain strains propagate in the presence of the various sugar structures in individual crops. It’s as if those strains prefer those specific crops.
"We look at the differences in how each strain reacts to the various sugars and match the plants that produce those sugars to see if they’re compatible," Whitaker explains. "This is where Pioneer testing efforts become important."
Listen to the animals
In the third generation, Pioneer began to look critically at animal performance. Researchers were identifying proprietary bacterial strains to improve animal utilization of key nutrients to improve meat or milk production.