Editor’s note: This article was written by Gbola Adesogan, Oscar Queiroz, Kathy Arriola, Juan-Jose Romero, Evandro Muniz, Joseph Hamie, Miguel Zarate, and Jan Kivipelto at the University of Florida and first appeared in the University of Florida Dairy Update.

Few previous studies have examined if inoculant application can improve the quality of bermudagrass haylage or silage. To our knowledge, no previous study has examined how the fermentation and quality of bermudagrass haylage is affected by the newer ‘combo’ inoculants sold by different companies. Older inoculants targeted either only the front phase of silage production (by increasing acidification during fermentation in the silo) or the back phase (by improving bunk life during feedout). Combo inoculants have bacteria that target both the front and back phases of silage production. This project aimed to compare effects of four inoculants from two companies on the fermentation, aerobic stability, and quality of Tifton 85 bermudagrass haylage that had been ensiled in round bales.

A 4-week regrowth of Tifton 85 bermudagrass was harvested and treated with nothing (Control) or Buchneri 500 inoculant (B500, containing Lactobacillus buchneri and Pediococcus pentosaceus) or Biotal Plus II inoculant (BPII, containing Pediococcus pentosaceus and Propionibacteria freudenreichii) or Silage inoculant II (SI, containing Lactobacillus plantarum and Pediococcus Pentosaceus) or SiloKing inoculant (SK, containing Lactobacillus plantarum, Enterococcus faecium, and Pediococcus pentosaceus). The first three inoculants are from Lallemand Animal Nutrition and the last one is from Agri-King. One of the main purposes of adding inoculants is to rapidly reduce the pH to about 4 to prevent the growth of spoilage organisms.

In this trial, the rate of pH decrease during storage was greatest for B500, followed by BPII and SI but SK and the control had similar rates. No difference was found among treatments in fiber (NDF) digestibility or shrinkage (DM losses). All inoculant treatments reduced protein degradation (measured by ammonia release) except SI. Inoculants B500 and SI had lower mold counts than other treatments. Inoculants B500, BPII, SI, and SK improved bunk life by 195 percent, 161 percent, 162 percent, and 75 percent, respectively compared to the Control.

We concluded that the inoculants had different effects on the fermentation of bermudagrass haylage. All inoculants improved the aerobic stability of bermudagrass haylage but some were more effective than others.

Source: University of Florida Dairy Update