Q. What is inoculant sedimentation?
A. Sedimentation occurs when the live bacteria in inoculants settle to the bottom of the applicator tank. This results in uneven distribution of the product onto the forage corp.
Achieving uniform distribution of silage inoculants is an important factor in their effectiveness. Without even product distribution in the applicator tank, producers may apply too much inoculant on one part of the field and virtually no product on other parts.
In as little as an hour, the bacteria — which are heavier than water — can settle to the bottom of the tank. To achieve a more even application, producers should look for inoculants with advanced suspension technology. These formulations can resist sedimentation for up to 24 hours after dilution, which helps produce a more homogenous product application.
To further improve application, producers should sanitize and calibrate the applicator and check the application rates several times a day. Using insulated tanks helps keep the product cool to help maintain product viability throughout application.