Silage troubleshooting in maize silages

Maize silage with moulds and yeasts

There are many potential reasons why maize silage may heat, be affected by mould or fail to ferment properly. The following pages support you in analysing vulnerabilities in silage management and help you identify potential causes and solutions.

Reheating/mould immediately underneath the film

Possible causes

  • Pick-up rate (chop length, deposited layers) and silo geometry (i.e. silo size) do not match
  • Incorrect removal technique and overfilling of silage clamps: loosened, rough silage face
  • Excessive rolling speed, inappropriate weight of the compaction unit
  • Overfilled silo plant

Solutions

  • Improve compaction: reduce the pick-up rate per unit of time if the silo surface is not yet large enough
  • Avoid “ripping” harvesting techniques
  • Rolling speed: max. 4 km/h
  • Rolling weight = harvest rate (t/h) / 4

Reheating/mould about 20 cm below the surface

Possible causes

  • Excessively long rolling towards the end: pumping effect (oxygen enters while preserving carbon dioxide is pushed out)
  • Excessively deep layer deposited at the top: poor compaction

Solutions

  • Max. 15 – 20 cm layer depth
  • Maximise deep compaction during rolling: maximise tyre pressure; avoid using dual tyres
  • Increase the length of stubble on the field

Reheating/mould in the middle of the silage

Possible causes

  • Excessively dry substrate layer: old and dry material
  • Excessively deep deposited layer
  • Insufficiently processed material
  • No intermediate sealing in case of delayed ensiling (especially when filling silos over several days)


Solutions

  • 15 – 20 cm layer depth
  • Check chop length
  • Use intermediate sealing in case of delayed ensiling (also overnight)

Reheating/mould randomly distributed

Possible causes

  • Late chopping -> field fungi
  • Poor field hygiene, e.g. when cultivating maize stubble
  • Excessively deep deposited layers
  • Inhomogeneous silo filling; cavities or slip


Solutions

  • Reduce infestation with field fungi/yeasts: harvest maize plants earlier
  • Chop and incorporate maize stubble in autumn
  • Max. 15–20 cm layer depth
  • Fill silos evenly: avoid “cavities” resulting from unloading large forage quantities
  • Prevent slip of harvesting vehicles on Silage by pulling up the compaction tractor

Reheating/mould around the edges

Possible causes

  • Incorrect filling of silage clamps (sloped outside edges): poor compaction along edges
  • Ingress of air or water, e.g. if no side wall or oxygen barrier is used


Solutions

  • Rolling right up to the silo wall
  • Use side wall and oxygen barrier
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Silage tips for maize
Maissilo  Anschnittflaeche
Correct silage management is the basis for high silage quality. Find useful tips on ensiling maize here.