A new alfalfa inoculant that could help dairy and beef producers reduce the amount of high-priced grain in their rations has been introduced by Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

Pioneer brand 11AFT inoculant improves the digestibility of fiber in alfalfa and offers a consistent, stable silage, according to the company.

“Alfalfa-specific 11AFT helps deliver a unique high-quality haylage to dairy producers,” says Kyle Whitaker, Pioneer marketing manager for forage additives. “11AFT increases fiber digestibility and improves forage energy density, producing an overall higher-quality, higher-value haylage in the ration.”

By helping to release carbohydrates from the lignin in the alfalfa, the inoculant makes more carbohydrates available to ruminant microorganisms. The reduced fiber content means less fill, allowing producers to replace more grain with haylage.

Announced at a Feb. 24 Pioneer media event in Johnston, IA, it’s the third product launched by the company on its fiber technology platform since 2008. The first product, 11CFT, is a corn silage inoculant; 11GFT is a grass and cereal silage inoculant.

“The fiber technology inoculants stimulate front-end fermentation by rapidly dropping silage pH while retaining valuable nutrients,” Whitaker says. “Because of the increased aerobic stability, nutrients are conserved on the back end during feed-out. This is accomplished by reducing shrink and improving bunk life of the silage face during feed-out.

“The most exciting result of Pioneer’s on-farm studies was the feed-cost savings due to increased nutritional value of the forages – around 4.7¢ per cow per day,” he adds. “11AFT will be available for the 2011 alfalfa-growing season.”

“Because it means more carbohydrates are digested by the animal, there should also be less manure,” says Bill Rutherford, Pioneer’s senior research manager for forage additive research. “That’s another benefit from the product.”

To learn more, click on the products tab at www.pioneer.com.