HIGH MOISTURE CORN: Use a preservative to lock in your feed value
By: Jay Squire, M.Sc., Wallenstein Feed & Supply Ltd.
The world is currently experiencing record prices for food and feed grains, corn is no exception. Valued at approximately $7-$8 per bushel, corn is a hot commodity and producers should be doing everything their power to maximize yields & nutritional value throughout harvest and storage.
Ontario is rather unique in North America, with the widespread adoption of preserved whole kernel high moisture corn for livestock feeding. Oxygen-limiting tower silos allow for corn (tipically between 25 and 30% moisture) to be ensiled and fermented, creating conditions that allow the grain to be preserved for feeding throughout the year. Producers must take measures to create an environment that optimizes the growth of beneficial bacteria, such as lactic acid bacteria (LAB), by addressing the silo’s “state of repair” and looking into additives that enhance the fermentation process.
LAB thrive in low oxygen (anaerobic) condtions, the environment that is created in a sealed silo. They are the primary organism responsible for the efficient coversion of the sugars and starches within corn into lactic acid, the acid mainly responsible for preserving the grain. When fermentation conditions are less than ideal (i.e. too much oxygen is present), there is increased growth of undesirable bacteria, yeasts and moulds. These aerobic organisms do not produce lactic acid like the anaerobic LAB. In fact, they compete with the LAB for important simple sugars that kick-start fermentation.
Ultimately, the LAB often win this competition against yeasts and moulds, but not always before unnessary dry matter losses have occurred due to the excessive growth of less desirable organisms. This may lead to the production of mycotoxins and other undesirable compounds that can have a detrimental effect on feed intake, growth and the overall health of the livestock consuming these grains.
Beyond taking every measure to ensure silos am properly sealed, some producers take the approach of adding additional LAB through the use of commercial inoculants to launch the anaerobic fermentation. Nuhn Forage Inc., along with Wallenstein Feed & Supply Ltd. has investigated the inoculant approach, but has concluded that the use of a liquid product like Nuhn HMC can deliver more consistent results by creating an anaerobic environment that enhances the growth of the naturally occurring LAB already present in the grain.
Unless oxygen content is minimized, even commercial bacterial inoculants will struggle to establish themselves and compete with the aerobic yeast and moulds. Nuhn HMC is simple to apply to the incoming grain and once in the silo, dissipates to displace oxygen as the silo is being filled. Through research trials, Nuhn HMC has been proven to decrease yeast and mould counts and increase dry matter retention by 5% in fermented high moisture corn. With today’s corn prices, the use of Nuhn HMC can yield a return on investment of 5:1. Depend on Nuhn HMC to lock in your feed value.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Nuhn Forage Inc.
Jay Squire, M.Sc.
Wallenstein Feed & Supply Ltd