Silage: Best food for Animals
Silage: Best food for Animals

Silage: Best food for Animals

Silage is very nutritious and cheap feed for animal husbandry business. This saves labor cost and time spent on harvesting green fodder every day. By making silage, the digestibility of the nutrients of the fodder increases, due to which the animal remains healthy and stress-free. Due to which a positive effect has been seen on the milk production of animals.

Leguminous crops such as maize, jowar, bajra, Napier bajra and guinea grass are best for making silage of excellent quality. For this, crops having high amount of water-soluble sugar and carbohydrate and low amount of protein should be selected.

There is a shortage of green fodder in May-June before the onset of the first monsoon and in October-November after the end of the monsoon. On the other hand, during the months of July to October and December to April and February-March and August-September in irrigated areas, green fodder becomes more than required. Conservation of green fodder in excess of this requirement becomes very important to provide fodder at the time of shortage. If this is not done, animal husbandry business cannot be made profitable.

Advantages of Silage:

  1. It is a high and suitable alternative to green fodder at the time of scarcity of green fodder.
  2. Nutrients of green fodder are preserved without loss when silage is made.
  3. Silage is cheaper than feed, ration, and other food items.
  4. Less space is required for making silage.
  5. Silage can be made in any season.
  6. Silage is acidic in nature, due to which it remains sterile for a long time, and does not spoil.
  7. Nitrate poisoning is caused using more fertilizers in the fodder crop or due to the effect of drought; making silage reduces its toxicity.
  8. By making silage, labor and time spent on daily harvesting of fodder crops are saved.
  9. Silage is nutritious and digestible like green fodder.
  10. In the absence of green fodder, more and regular milk production can be taken by feeding it to milch animals.
  11. Early harvesting of kharif crop from the field for making silage gives enough time for preparation and sowing of subsequent rabi crop.

Main fodder crops and properties for making silage:

Selection of proper crop is essential for making good silage. Use fodder crops to make silage, these have at least 6-7 percent soluble sugar, high carbohydrate content and low protein content. Maize, Jowar, Bajra, Napier hybrid grass, Guinea grass and oats are especially suitable. For making mixed silage, 50 percent of the grass class and the remaining 50 percent should be of pulse crops.

Suitable harvesting time for silage:

For silage of high quality and high yield, the crop should be harvested from the initial stage of flowering to the middle of the milk stage. At this time the accumulation of nutrients is maximum. And the amount of indigestible elements is minimum. This gives good quality silage.

Fodder drying and crushing:

Too wet or dry fodder is harmful for silage. To avoid such situation, the crop should be cut at proper stage and dried till it has 60-65 percent moisture and 30-35 percent dry matter. To do this, the crop should be justify in the field. When the ratio of dry matter and moisture is 35: 65, it is 1.25- 2.5 cm. m. cut it into pieces and makes a grotto. After this, if the ball formed by taking the kuti in the hand and pressing it tightly with the fist, slowly disintegrates. So there will be proper moisture condition to preserve it as silage.

Pit silo is a circular well shaped pit. Whose depth and diameter is prepared according to the requirement of silage. To make this, generally 20 – 25 feet deep and circular pit is dug and its diameter is 10 – 12 feet on average. To use it for a long time, its wall should be made of cement and concrete. Due to this, external moisture, air does not enter it in any way. Due to the strength of the wall, even rats and other animals are not able to harm it. Less power is required to fill it. And there is very little chance of damage to the silage.

Selection of pit for silage:

To make a silage pit, silo should be made at a high place near the cattle shed where there is a slope, so that the rain water can go away from the pit. Both air and water are major obstacles in the process of making silage. This affects the quality of silage. Therefore the silage pit should be free from air and water.

Construction of pit for making silage:

The size of silo pit for making silage is made keeping in view the availability of green fodder, number of animals and duration of feeding. The interior of the silo should be made of pucca, brick and concrete.

Method of filling the silo: The silo should be filled within one to two days. Its filling should always be done in dry days. While filling the fodder pit, it should be pressed well with a tractor or any other heavy pressure object and its pile should be raised to a height of one meter from the ground level, the process of pressing should be done after filling every half meter pit. Now it is covered with 10 -15 cm of dry crop residues. It is covered with a thick layer. After this, soil is poured over it and it is made airless by applying a coat of wet clay (mud) on it. After this it becomes ready for feeding to animals in 45 – 60 days.

Method to open silo:

When silage is ready, it should always be opened at one corner of the width. So that at least the air enters inside. It should be covered immediately by taking out silage as per requirement. Due to this it can be used for a long time.

Qualities of good silage:

When made into good silage, it smells like vinegar and appears bright yellow in colour. The pH value of well-made silage is 4.5 and the moisture content is 65-75%. And it is similar to green fodder in nutrients. Good silage contains 3-14% lactic acid and low butyric acid (<0.2%).

Method of feeding silage to animals:

In the beginning, when the animals are not used to it, a small amount of it is about 5 – 10 kg. Gram. Per animal should be fed mixed with green fodder for 5-6 days. After this increase its quantity to 20 – 30 kg. Gram. Can be fed per animal.


Dr. Ravi Prakash Mishra

Asso. Prof./ Head

School of Agriculture

July 22, 2023

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