If you’re going to use a silage inoculant, ask manufacturers for research data before buying, suggests Rich Muck, USDA-ARS ag engineer.

“Look for one that has a good track record in improving animal performance,” he says.

Then store it in a cool, dry spot.

“These products only work if the bacteria goes on the crop live. Say you throw the product in the back of a pickup and it’s a hot day – you can have some loss of activity. Whether it’s a liquid or dry product, the key for storage is to keep the product cool and dry.”

Finally, follow recommended application rates, whether you’re applying inoculant or propionic acid. Don’t skimp on propionic, Muck warns.

“Companies know their (propionic) products are expensive so they give the farmer rates that are really where they need to be in order to work. If the farmer decides to cut back, it’s probably not going to do the job that he’d like it to do. It’s true for inoculants, too, although you have a little more leeway. Pay attention to what the label says.”