Forage inoculants contain live, viable bacteria and need to be handled carefully, especially if you’re carrying them over to next season, says Bob Charley, Forage Products Manager with Lallemand Animal Nutrition.
There are three keys to keeping inoculants healthy and viable:
- Keep away from heat and direct sunlight, and follow recommended storage instructions on package labeling.
- Keep inoculants dry and away from moisture.
- Make sure packaging remains sealed until use to limit oxygen exposure.
“Producers should see that manufacturers keep the product protected from high temperatures by storing frozen and shipping it to the farm on ice or in refrigerated trucks,” says Charley. And once the product arrives at the farm, producers need to keep it cool, preferably in a refrigerator or freezer, he says.
“This is especially important if you might be carrying some product over to the next season,” Charley says. “Look at the label. Read it and understand what it says about storage and shelf life.”
High-quality products will often show a shelf life of 18 months or more, but that can only be achieved if products are store properly, he says.