The forage fiber mat is extremely critical in maximizing rumen function. The most perfect protein for a cow is microbial protein. If the fiber mat in the rumen is damaged or if the integrity is compromised, the production of rumen microbes is compromised. The number one goal in dairy nutrition is to maximize rumen function. If we accomplish the goal of maximizing rumen function, we maximize rumen health and, in the end, optimize production. healthier cows and higher production.
Note that the dry matter intake Note that the "normal" and the bottom portion of the bunker silo have a lower pH indicating that "better" fermentation took place. Also note the higher levels of neutral detergent fiber (NDF) and acid detergent fiber (ADF) in the "slimy layer." This is an indication that "poor" fermentation took place and nutrients were consumed leaving a higher level of fiber behind.
If we harvest at the right stage, fill quickly, eliminate oxygen, and seal the forage product as soon as possible to keep oxygen out, this will yield a stable, top quality forage. I can't think of a storage option that will accomplish this better than an Ag-Bag[R].
We all know that feeding the "spoiled layer" that we find on the top of bunker silos probably doesn't add a lot to the party from a nutritional standpoint. In addition, we frequently consider that "spoiled layer" on the top of the bunker silo one of the small negative inconveniences we put up with in using a bunker silo as compared with storing forage products in an Ag-Bag[R]. This study provides some conclusive evidence that what we consider a mere inconvenience, is in fact, one of the dropped by 16.0% (2.80 #) as we moved towards increasing levels of "spoiled layer" and as the "normal" silage decreased. That resulting lower dry matter intake will translate directly into decreased production. As this table points out, even if the cows eat the dry matter... it is less digestible. If we begin with the end in mind, it should be part of our plan to consider your storage options.
All of the silage in the trials, is from a single source, harvested at the 80% milk-line stage, and irrigated.