Growing Futures

Maize silage

Reducing nitrogen in the dairy industry

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Maize silage

To make silage, the maize (Zea mays) plant is harvested before it is fully mature and then shredded. It is then inoculated and packed tightly into silage pits, to limit the amount of air, and sealed, usually with plastic. Over a period of about seven days the maize ferments, converting the carbohydrates in the plant material to acids. This provides a palatable, high energy feed, which can be stored for up to a year, for animals when pasture is not available.