The development, in collaboration with KWS Italia and the Department of Animal Medicine, Production and Health - University of Padua, of a predictive system based on the use of the poliSPECNIR equipped with a specific calibration curve for freshly shredded corn led to the definition of the new ENSILAGE INDEX.

This index is able to highlight the propensity of the ensiling properties of cultivars based on when it was cut and the pedoclimatic conditions of the cultivation areas, allowing the farmer to target interventions during the ensiling phase to promote a good conservation of the product.

Operators can further improve the accuracy of their managerial choices by using this Ensilage Index and qualitative assessments on production, to substantially increase technical and economic efficiency for the farm.

The Ensilage Index is determined using two parameters:

  • Qualitative score
  • Loss of dry matter

based on the score given by crossing the qualitative score and the loss of dry matter, and its collocation in a Four Quadrant Chart we can understand the following:
 

QUADRANT 1

Chopped hay has a balanced chemical composition that rapidly activate positive fermentation processes. No special additions are necessary to stimulate fermentation.

Quadrant 2

Chopped hay has a good chemical composition, but not able to effectively contain conservation losses. One of the causes could be excessive humidity in the product (< 30%). In this case, it is advisable to delay the cut. On the other hand, if the dry matter of the cut is higher than 30%, it is advisable to use additives to accelerate and optimie the fermentation processes.

Quadrant 3

Chopped hay has a chemical composition that is not able to effectively stimulate fermentation. If the dry matter in the cut is over 45%, the use of additives and the addition of water and sugary substances are necessary to obtain a sufficient fermentation substrate. Moreover, it could be that cultivars with a high ratio of spike/stalk, do not have an adequate fermentation processes. In this case, however, the use of additives is necessary.

Quadrante 4

Chopped hay shows a chemical composition with a good attitude to fermentation, but the processes that are established, besides not being positive for the quality, are not even able to contain the losses of dry matter. For this type of silage it is essential to add additives to make conservative processes more effective.

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