Do I need to use an additive with clamped grass silage?
With all silages it is important that the pH comes down quickly as well as to a level low enough to stabilise the silage. Grass can often be low in sugars and/or have low numbers of lactic acid bacteria on it. Use of a proven additive will help to ensure a successful fermentation. With low DM (< 20%DM) an additive is usually considered essential, especially if harvesting conditions are not ideal and/or you are using grass with a high clover content. Some inoculants have also been shown to bring about improved animal performance, even when the untreated silage would have fermented well anyway.
What about high DM grass silage?
With high DM grass the fermentation is slower and the silage will stabilise at a higher pH. The slow fermentation allows more time for undesirable microorganisms to be active as well as increasing the breakdown of true protein. Inoculation speeds up the process as well as making it more efficient with lower DM losses.
High DM silages are also at higher risk of aerobic spoilage at feedout with potentially high losses and the risk of mycotoxins so good management is essential but additives are also available to help reduce aerobic spoilage.
Remember – an additive is not a substitute for good management.