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Improving corn silage quality in the top layer of farm bunker silos through the use of a next-generation barrier film with high impermeability to oxygen

Authors
  • Borreani, G.
  • Tabacco, E.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Dairy Science
Publisher
American Dairy Science Association
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
Accepted Date
Dec 20, 2013
Volume
97
Issue
4
Pages
2415–2426
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3168/jds.2013-7632
Source
Elsevier
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

This study examined the effect on the fermentation, chemical, and microbiological quality of corn silage covered with a new-generation high oxygen barrier film (HOB) made with a special grade of ethylene-vinyl alcohol (EVOH) compared with a standard polyethylene film (PE). Two bunkers (farms 1 and 2) were divided into 2 parts lengthwise so that half of the silo would be covered with PE film and the other with HOB film. Plastic net bags with fresh chopped corn were buried in the upper layer (close to and far from the wall) and in the central part of the bunkers. During spring-summer consumption, the bags were unloaded, weighed, and subsampled to analyze the dry matter (DM) content, neutral detergent fiber and starch contents, pH, lactic and monocarboxylic acids, yeast and mold counts, aerobic and anaerobic spore-former counts, and aerobic stability. We also determined the economic benefit of applying the novel covering. The top layer of silage conserved under the HOB film had a higher lactic acid content and lower pH; lower counts of yeasts, molds, and aerobic and anaerobic spore-formers; higher aerobic stability; and lower DM losses than the silage conserved under the PE film. The use of the HOB film prevented almost all of the silage in the upper layer from spoiling; only 2 out of 32 samples had a mold count >6log10 cfu/g. This led to a net economic gain when the HOB film was used on both farms due to the increased DM recovery and reduced labor time required to clean the upper layer, even though the HOB film cost about 2.3 times more than the PE film. Furthermore, use of the HOB film, which ensures a longer shelf life of silage during consumption, reduced the detrimental effect of yeasts, molds, and aerobic and anaerobic spore-formers on the nutritional and microbiological quality of the unloaded silage.

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