what is silage in agriculture

Contents

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  • Silage is good source of nutritious food.
  • Silage makes animals gain weight in short period, especially in sheep
  • Dairy cows produce more milk with silage feeding.
  • Silage is very useful in summer when there is no scope for natural gazing.
  • Silage is used as animal fodder such as in goat, sheep and dairy cows.

What Is Silage? Silage is essentially “pickled pasture,” or fodder that’s been fermented to feed cattle or sheep during dry seasons. Grasses or other crops, such as rye or maize, are cut, fermented and compressed until they’re ready to be fed to the livestock.Feb 1, 2020

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Answer

What are the steps for making silage?

Silage, also called ensilage, forage plants such as corn (maize), legumes, and grasses that have been chopped and stored in tower silos, pits, or trenches for use as animal feed. Since protein content decreases and fibre content increases as the crop matures, forage, like hay, should be harvested in early maturity.

What are the benefits of making silage?

Silage is pasture grass that has been ‘pickled’. It is a method used to preserve the pasture for cows and sheep to eat later when natural pasture isn’t good, like in the dry season. The grasses are cut and then fermented to keep as much of the nutrients (such as …

What is the difference between Hay and silage?

Silage is the main conserved forage fed to organic dairy herds during the winter housing period. It influences feed intake and the quality and quantity of milk produced. It is primarily made from clover and other legumes, ensiled either alone or more commonly in a mixture with grass species.

What does the name silage mean?

silage in Agriculture topic From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English si‧lage /ˈsaɪlɪdʒ/ noun [ uncountable] grass or other plants cut and stored so that they can be used as winter food for cattle Examples from the Corpus silage • As it is the hay and silage season, we had been going non-stop since dawn.

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What silage means?

Definition of silage : fodder (such as hay or corn) converted into succulent feed for livestock through processes of anaerobic bacterial fermentation (as in a silo)

What is silage with example?

silage, also called ensilage, forage plants such as corn (maize), legumes, and grasses that have been chopped and stored in tower silos, pits, or trenches for use as animal feed.

What is silage and how is it prepared?

In brief, Silage is a high moisture fodder that farmers use to feed their domestic animals, especially during the dry season. Made up of grass, corn, maize, and others, silages are made by chopping the crops into small pieces and then storing them.

What is silage and why is it important?

Silage is pasture grass that has been ‘pickled’. It is a method used to preserve the pasture for cows and sheep to eat later when natural pasture isn’t good, like in the dry season. The grasses are cut and then fermented to keep as much of the nutrients (such as sugars and proteins) as possible.

How is silage made?

Silage (/ˈsaɪlɪdʒ/) is a type of fodder made from green foliage crops which have been preserved by fermentation to the point of acidification. It can be fed to cattle, sheep and other such ruminants (cud-chewing animals). The fermentation and storage process is called ensilage, ensiling or silaging.

What are types of silage?

Types of Silages?High-moisture silage (< 30% dry matter)Medium-moisture silage (30 – 40% dry matter)Low-moisture silage ( < 30% dry matter)

How long can silage be stored?

A. Personally, I have seen silage keep well for three years if it’s maintained in excellent condition. With an extended ensiling period, you’ll want to have all the components of quality silage management in place. This means correctly harvesting, filling, packing and storing the forage.

Which crop is best for silage making?

The fodder crops, such as maize, sorghum, oats, pearl millet, and hybrid napier rich in soluble carbohydrates are most suitable for fodder ensiling. Quality of silage can be improved with the use of suitable additives such as molasses, urea, salt, formic acid etc.

How is silage stored?

There are several ensiling/storage methods that will accomplish the ensiling process. All methods have advantages and disadvantages, and have widely ranging capital costs.; Some methods of storing silage include trench, bunker, concrete silos, oxygen-limiting silos, heap silage, and bale silage.

What is advantage of silage making?

Silage has more nutrients preserved per acre because there is less field loss. Silage is also less affected by weather damage because the forage does not lie in the field drying. The ensiling process has become more mechanized and is therefore less labor intensive than haymaking.

Why is silage good for cattle?

Nutritionally, silages represent an excellent energy source in cow-calf rations by providing digestible fiber. They can be used to meet the energy requirements of cows to maintain BCS and weight and fit particularly well in rations fed post-calving with other forages.

What is the difference between hay and silage?

The difference between haylage and hay is that, whilst the conservation of hay relies on the removal of moisture, the conservation of haylage relies on the exclusion of oxygen which prevents mould growth. Haylage is typically between 50 and 70% dry matter.

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What is silage used for?

Silage is usually used as a supplement to pasture. The quantity required will depend on the quantity and quality of pasture available. Silage quality has to be high to ensure a good animal response. Supplementation of cows grazing young lush pasture with high-quality silage can reduce the incidence of grass tetany.

Why is silage important for cows?

Silage prevents precious pasture going to waste Collecting the excess pasture for silage is a great way to preserve nutrients for autumn and winter when pastures are less productive and the weather outside is too grisly for cowkind to contemplate.

How does silage pollution affect fish?

The problem of silage effluent pollution It’s at least 200 times stronger than untreated domestic sewage. It kills fish and the tiny creatures they feed on, starving them of oxygen until they suffocate. Just small amounts pollute groundwater, springs, wells and boreholes, endangering public water supplies.

Why is silage better than hay?

Silage has several advantages over hay as a mechanically harvested product. Silage has more nutrients preserved per acre because there is less field loss. Silage is also less affected by weather damage because the forage does not lie in the field drying.

What is the best fodder for ensiling?

The fodder crops, such as maize, sorghum, oats, pearl millet, and hybrid napier rich in soluble carbohydrates are most suitable for fodder ensiling. Quality of silage can be improved with the use of suitable additives such as molasses, urea, salt, formic acid etc.

What is silage made of?

Not to be confused with Sillage. Silage ( / ˈsaɪlɪdʒ /) is a type of fodder made from green foliage crops which have been preserved by acidification, achieved through fermentation. It can be fed to cattle, sheep and other such ruminants ( cud -chewing animals).

Where is silage placed?

In North America, Australia, northwestern Europe, and New Zealand it is common for silage to be placed in large heaps on the ground, rolled by tractor to push out the air, then covered with plastic sheets that are held down by used tires or tire ring walls. In New Zealand and Northern Europe, ‘bunkers’ made of concrete or old wooden railway ties (sleepers) and built into the side of a bank are sometimes used. The chopped grass can then be dumped in at the top, to be drawn from the bottom in winter. This requires considerable effort to compress the stack in the silo to cure it properly. Again, the pit is covered with plastic sheet and weighed down with tires.

How many stages does silage go through?

Silage goes through four major stages in a silo:

Is silo a corrosive substance?

The fermentation process of silo or pit silage releases liquid. Silo effluent is corrosive. It can also contaminate water sources unless collected and treated. The high nutrient content can lead to eutrophication (hypertrophication), the growth of bacterial or algal blooms.

What bacteria are inoculated with silage?

Silage inoculants contain one or more strains of lactic acid bacteria , and the most common is Lactobacillus plantarum.

What happens to the sour silage in anaerobic fermentation?

When closely packed, the supply of oxygen is limited, and the attendant acid fermentation brings about decomposition of the carbohydrates present into acetic, butyric and lactic acids. This product is named sour silage. If the fodder is unchaffed and loosely packed, or the silo is built gradually, oxidation proceeds more rapidly and the temperature rises; if the mass is compressed when the temperature is 140–160 °F (60–71 °C), the action ceases and sweet silage results. The nitrogenous ingredients of the fodder also change: in making sour silage, as much as one-third of the albuminoids may be converted into amino and ammonium compounds; in making sweet silage, a smaller proportion is changed, but they become less digestible. If the fermentation process is poorly managed, sour silage acquires an unpleasant odour due to excess production of ammonia or butyric acid (the latter is responsible for the smell of rancid butter).

How long does it take for silage to ferment?

Silage undergoes anaerobic fermentation, which starts about 48 hours after the silo is filled, and converts sugars to acids. Fermentation is essentially complete after about two weeks. Before anaerobic fermentation starts, there is an aerobic phase in which the trapped oxygen is consumed.

Why is silage important?

Silage is preserved pasture. Making silage is an important way for farmers to feed cows and sheep during times when pasture isn’t good, such as the dry season. Find out how silage is made below.

What is silage grass?

Silage is pasture grass that has been ‘pickled’. It is a method used to preserve the pasture for cows and sheep to eat later when natural pasture isn’t good, like in the dry season .

Why is grass cut and fermented?

The grasses are cut and then fermented to keep as much of the nutrients ( such as sugars and proteins) as possible. The fermentation is carried out by microscopic organisms living in the grass.

Why is grass wilting in the field?

Grass is allowed to wilt in the field for a few hours to reduce the moisture content to around 60-75%. This moisture level will allow for optimum fermentation. If the grass is left out longer, it may get too dry, or it may get rained on – and both these will reduce proper fermentation. Also, the longer the grass is left uncut, the higher the loss of nutrients.

Why does the pH of silage drop?

These are bacteria that are needed to make the silage, and they turn the plant sugars into lactic acid. This causes the pH to drop (the mixture because more acidic).

Why is silage made with oxygen?

This is because fermentation has to happen under anaerobic (oxygen-free) conditions, or the correct type of microorganisms won’t grow.

When should pasture be cut?

First, the pasture must be cut when the grasses contain their highest nutrient levels. This is usually just before they are fully mature. This is important because all forms of preserved grass, such as hay and silage, will have lower amounts of nutrients than fresh pasture, so everything must be done to make the end product be as nutritious as possible.

What is silage forage?

Silage has been defined in various ways, but all the definitions have a common element. For example, silage is forage preserved in succulent conditions by partial fermentation in a tight container (Martin et al., 1976 ). Walton (1983) says that it is feed preserved by acid-producing action of fermentation.

What are the components of silage?

Silage formation consists of the following: (1) Oxygen trapped in the forage is utilized within a few hours by aerobic microorganisms. (2) Anaerobic bacteria (lactobacilli) increase from 2000 to 4000 up to 1 billion per gram of silage very early in the process. (3) Sugars are the principal food for anaerobic fermentation bacteria, but pentosans and starch are also used to a small degree. (4) Principal organic acids formed are lactic, acetic, succinic, and a trace of formic (McCulloch, 1978; McDonald, 1981; Neidig, 1914 ). Lactic acid is the desired acid ( Woodward, 1939). (5) Poor silage fermentation breaks down much of the protein and amino acid N to form less digestible ammonia forms (Gordon et al., 1957, 1961; McHan, 1979 ). (6) Silage development is usually completed within about 12 days ( Langston, 1958). (7) Losses of DM during fermentation range from 5 to 20%; gas losses range from 5 to 10%; seepage losses from 0 to 10%, depending on the water content of the initial fodder. Spoilage losses can range from a low of 1% (airtight silos) to a high of 40% (silage piles and poorly covered bunker or pit silos) (Guilbert, 1931; LeClerc, 1939; Martin et al., 1976; Takano, 1983; Walton, 1983 ).

Can E. coliO157:H7 be grown in silage?

No reports on the occurrence of E. coliO157:H7 in silage are known to the author. However, possibilities to control its viability were tested in silage inoculated with this harmful strain. Overall, E. coliO157:H7 does not survive in well-fermented silage with a fast pH decline and low pH value, such as corn silage (e.g., Pedroso et al., 2010). In difficult to ensile forages such as alfalfa with a slow initial pH decline, propionic acid, or some bacterial inoculants applied during silo filling, the inhibition of E. coliO157:H7 during ensiling is hastened, and its growth on contaminated silage during the feed-out period is also prevented (Ogunade et al., 2016). However, the danger strain can survive and grow in poorly fermented silage, and in aerobically deteriorated silage.

What is the most important organism in silage?

In silage, Escherichia coli is the most important species within the group of enterobacteria from the viewpoint of human health risk, because some its types cause severe gastrointestinal diseases. Recently, the greatest interest has been focused on the strain E. coli O157:H7, a Shiga-toxin producing food-borne pathogen associated with hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome in humans. Cattle are considered the primary reservoir of the bacterium, shedding the pathogen in their manure. The presumed route of raw milk contamination is similar to that described above for other contaminating bacteria.

What are the characteristics of silage formation?

(3) Sugars are the principal food for anaerobic fermentation bacteria, but pentosans and starch are also used to a small degree. (4) Principal organic acids formed are lactic, acetic, succinic, and a trace of formic (McCulloch, 1978; McDonald, 1981; Neidig, 1914). Lactic acid is the desired acid (Woodward, 1939). (5) Poor silage fermentation breaks down much of the protein and amino acid N to form less digestible ammonia forms (Gordon et al., 1957,1961; McHan, 1979). (6) Silage development is usually completed within about 12 days (Langston, 1958). (7) Losses of DM during fermentation range from 5 to 20%; gas losses range from 5 to 10%; seepage losses from 0 to 10%, depending on the water content of the initial fodder. Spoilage losses can range from a low of 1% (airtight silos) to a high of 40% (silage piles and poorly covered bunker or pit silos) (Guilbert, 1931; LeClerc, 1939; Martin et al., 1976; Takano, 1983; Walton, 1983).

Is silage good for cattle?

Silage, which is produced to preserve forage with high moisture content by controlled fermentation, is an important winter feed for cattle. Recent efforts towards an increased use of potato pulp were primarily directed to a broader application as animal feed (Lisinska and Leszczynski, 1989). Okine et al. (2005)studied the effect of addition of two bacterial inoculants as Lactobacillus rhamnosusand Rhizopus oryzaeat ensiling on the fermentation quality, change in nutrient composition, and the nutritive value of potato pulp silage. They concluded that the potato pulp can ensile well with or without bacterial inoculants.

What is the best winter feed for cattle?

Silage, which is produced to preserve forage with high moisture content by controlled fermentation, is an important winter feed for cattle. Recent efforts towards an increased use of potato pulp were primarily directed to a broader application as animal feed (Lisinska and Leszczynski, 1989 ). Okine et al. (2005) studied the effect of addition of two bacterial inoculants as Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Rhizopus oryzae at ensiling on the fermentation quality, change in nutrient composition, and the nutritive value of potato pulp silage. They concluded that the potato pulp can ensile well with or without bacterial inoculants.

What is silage used for?

Silage is a staple forage on dairy farms. High-level management and sizeable financial outlays are necessary to efficiently produce, harvest, store and feed silage.

What are silage additives?

Silage additives encourage desirable fermentation, limit undesirable fermentation, or improve the nutritional quality of silage. Considerable research has been conducted on the use of silage additives; however, due to the dynamic nature of silage fermentation, the results have been variable. The actual chemical and physical characteristics of the plant material at harvest determine the outcome of using silage additives.

What is the purpose of fermentation profile analysis?

Therefore, the primary goal of fermentation profile analysis is creating an awareness of the factors that can be con-trolled during harvest and storage to prevent future problems. Table 21.

What organisms can live in a silo?

Spoilage organism population: A poor seal lets yeast, mold, and aerobic bacteria grow during storage, which greatly shortens bunk life. Mold and yeast can live in the silo from one year to the next, and crops may be inoculated with mold spores or yeast by manure or soil contamination, manure fertilization close to harvest, or soil splashing onto plants.

How long after a frost can you harvest sorghum?

If sorghum forage is stunted by frost, delay harvest until 4 days after a killing frost or ensile the material. Ensiling generally reduces the risk of prussic acid poisoning after about 4 weeks. The same precautions discussed below to reduce nitrate toxicity can be followed for prussic acid poisoning.

How does plant respiration affect forage?

Plant respiration continues after cutting until all oxygen is excluded from the silo. Therefore, the longer cut forage lies in the field, the greater respiration losses will be. As forage is added to the silo, the weight of the material forces oxygen out of the forage mass. As discussed previously, oxygen trapped in the forage mass will cause excessive heating, which may decrease the digestibility of protein in the forage. In addition, rapid harvest ensures that the majority of forage is at the correct moisture and maturity. If harvest stretches out over an extended period, nutrient and moisture content can change drastically. Heat damage can be minimized by avoiding moisture contents over 70 percent and less than 40 percent.

When to harvest soybeans?

The ideal time to harvest is at full seed (the R6 stage), when the beans are full-size and the pods and leaves are still green. The crop at this stage often contains 75 to 80 percent moisture and will require some wilting to achieve the desired moisture for ensiling. At later stages, potential for leaf and bean loss increases, and stems become more fibrous and less digestible.

What is silage used for?

Silage is essentially “pickled pasture,” or fodder that’s been fermented to feed cattle or sheep during dry seasons. Grasses or other crops, such as rye or maize, are cut, fermented and compressed until they’re ready to be fed to the livestock.

Why is silage important for cattle?

During dry seasons in particular, this helps the cattle or sheep stay healthy and strong. Furthermore, the importance of silage is in its energy. It often serves as a high-energy source for animals such as cows. Fortunately, a little goes a long way. This makes it a low-cost option for fattening grazing cattle.

Why is silage good for storage?

What’s the advantage? Silage is stored using plenty of moisture, which allows it to retain a higher percentage of nutrients than a dry storage option . While the process of silaging won’t add any nutrients, it does a great job preserving existing nutrients.

What do farmers feed their animals?

Farmers typically have a few popular options when it comes to feeding their livestock. One of these options is silage — preserved pasture, which allows farmers to keep feeding their livestock when grazing isn’t optimal.

Can animals digest hay?

Digestive capabilities: Animals do not digest hay. Silage is partially and easily digested, offering more nutritious value. Preservation: Hay is typically kept in a bale, while silage is stored in a bale and covered with tight plastic wrap.

What is the difference between hay and silage?

The primary difference between hay and silage is that the former is grass that’s cut and dried to use as animal fodder. Silage is fermented and stored in a silo before used as food. As a result, they have several distinctions: Moisture content: Hay usually has a moisture content of 12%, whereas silage moisture content is between 40-60%.

Is silage hay a good forage?

Both silage and hay are popular ways for farmers to feed their livestock when they’re unable to graze during the winter. They’re both comprised of grass and considered a preservation method of forage. However, despite overarching similarities, these two styles certainly have their differences.

Why is silage used in cattle?

Silage is used to feed the dairy cattle, and it helps to produce more milk. Silage is used to feed the the animals in summer when there is no scope for natural grazing. It is used as animal fodder and can be fed to most of the animals such as cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats.

What type of crop is used for silage?

First of all, decide the type of crop to be grown for silage production. You can choose both hybrid and perennial varieties of crops which can be grown in a short period of time and produced multiple times. Growing sorghum, maize, barley, oats, millet or other cereals will be very good for making silage.

How long can you keep silage?

But you should wait at least 2 weeks before using. The silage made in such process can be kept for long time, generally up to 2 years.

How to cover a silage pit?

Cover the top of the pit with polythene sheet after final pressing. Covering the top is important to prevent the silage from any water contact, and if possible dig a small trench around the sides of the pit.

How to keep silage from rotting?

Using a garden sprayer for distributing the solution will be good. Doing this will help for preventing the forage from rotting. Sprinkling the solution throughout the silage pit will help in feeding the micro-organisms, for making the silage ferment quickly and saving the silage from rotting.

How much polythene do you need for a silage pit?

For example, you have to dig the pit size of about 2 cubic meters for making 20 bags of silage. And you will need about 10 meters of polythene and 30 liters of molasses for such a pit.

What is the best grain to use for silage?

Growing sorghum, maize, barley, oats, millet or other cereals will be very good for making silage.

Why is corn used for silage?

Corn silage produces more energy per acre than any other crop

How to store silage bags?

It is important to pick a suitable location for the storage bags. Obviously, one would wish to keep them relatively close, in an area that has adequate drainage and easy access. Keeping the bags away from other feed sources, may reduce damage from birds and rodents. Stacking the carefully in a room can protect them against rats, mice and other pests. Although open storing in a way disabling rodents to form layers, and covering with a thin plastic foil to prevent damage from birds is sometimes most effec- tive. The surface area selected for storage of silage bags has a large impact on silage quality and ease of feeding from the bag. Based on experience the surfaces rated as follows:

What is the moisture content of corn silage?

Recommended moisture contents are 65–70 percent for horizontal silos, 63–68 percent for conven-tional tower silos, 55–60 percent for limited-oxygen silos, and 65 percent for silo bags.

Is silage good for marketing?

Silage is not interesting for marketing as its value is difficult to be determined.cultural sector, but the production method relies on heavy equipment and large production, in order to dig or build storage pits and to compress the green mass, putting it beyond the reach of smallholder farmers.

Why is hay made from forage?

Forages can be made into hay to conserve the nutrients, especially protein , before they decline in the plant. However it is often too wet to dry the successfully and special machinery, has to be used to assist the forage to dry quickly. Forage crops such as maize, are too thick-stemmed to dry successfully as hay. Silage is considered the better way to conserve forage crops. A forage crop can be cut early and only has to have 30% dry matter to be ensiled successfully. There is no need to dry out the plant material any more than that, so wet weather is not such a constraint as it is with making hay. Silage making is long practiced by the larger agri- cultural sector, but the production method relies on heavy equipment and large production, in order to dig or build storage pits and to compress the green mass, putting it beyond the reach of smallholder farmers.

How is forage preserved?

Forage which has been grown while still green and nutritious can be conserved through a natural ‘pickling’ process. Lactic acid is produced when the sugars in the forage plants are fermented by bac- teria in a sealed container (‘silo’) with no air. Forage conserved this way is known as ‘ensiled forage’ or ‘silage’ and will keep for up to three years without deteriorating. Silage is very palatable to livestock and can be fed at any time.

How to improve the nutrition of farmers’ milking animals when each family keeps only one dairy cow?

How to improve the nutrition of farmers’ milking animals when each family keeps only one dairy cow? available are wheat or maize straw, together with hay and concentrated feeds. As a minimum, it is essential to provide a green fodder supplement to enhance rumen function for bovine animals. Therefore, one should develop winter fodder crops. For smallholder farmers with limited production capacity, finding enough feed in the winter months to maintain good milk production is always a problem. Many are forced to buy hay, concentrates or silage just to keep their animals alive and are unable to benefit due to the higher prices paid for animal feed in the winter months.

Overview

History

Using the same technique as the process for making sauerkraut, green fodder was preserved for animals in parts of Germany since the start of the 19th century. This gained the attention of a French agriculturist, Auguste Goffart of Sologne, near Orléans, who published a book in 1877 which described the experiences of preserving green crops in silos. Goffart’s experience attracted considerable attention. The conditions of dairy farmingin the United States suited the ensiling of …

Production

The crops most often used for ensilage are the ordinary grasses, clovers, alfalfa, vetches, oats, rye and maize. Many crops have ensilaging potential, including potatoes and various weeds, notably spurrey such as Spergula arvensis. Silage must be made from plant material with a suitable moisture content: about 50% to 60% depending on the means of storage, the degree of compression, and th…

Haylage

Haylage sometimes refers to high dry matter silage of around 40% to 60%, typically made from hay. Horse haylage is usually 60% to 70% dry matter, made in small bales or larger bales.
Handling of wrapped bales is most often with some type of gripper that squeezes the plastic-covered bale between two metal parts to avoid puncturin…

Fermentation

Silage undergoes anaerobic fermentation, which starts about 48 hours after the silo is filled, and converts sugars to acids. Fermentation is essentially complete after about two weeks.
Before anaerobic fermentation starts, there is an aerobic phase in which the trapped oxygenis consumed. How closely the fodder is packed determines the …

Pollution and waste

The fermentation process of silo or pit silage releases liquid. Silo effluent is corrosive. It can also contaminate water sources unless collected and treated. The high nutrient content can lead to eutrophication (hypertrophication), the growth of bacterial or algal blooms.
Plastic sheeting used for sealing pit or baled silage needs proper disposal, and some areas have recycling schemes for it. Traditionally, farms have burned silage plastics; however odor and smo…

Storing silage

Silage must be firmly packed to minimize the oxygen content, or it will spoil.
Silage goes through four major stages in a silo:
• Presealing, which, after the first few days after filling a silo, enables some respiration and some dry matter (DM) loss, but stops
• Fermentation, which occurs over a few weeks; pH drops; there is more DM loss, but hemicellulose is broken down; aerobic respiration stops

Safety

Silos are potentially hazardous: deaths may occur in the process of filling and maintaining them, and several safety precautions are necessary. There is a risk of injury by machinery or from falls. When a silo is filled, fine dust particles in the air can become explosive because of their large aggregate surface area. Also, fermentation presents respiratory hazards. The ensiling process produces “silo gas” during the early stages of the fermentation process. Silage gas contains nitri…

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