Is It Economical to Feed Silage to Beef Cattle?

With such an increasing population rate, livestock is no more a small scale production business. Yet it is preferred to farm using concepts uncovered in the recent research works. Irrespective of whether it is about yielding crops large scale or raising livestock, silage machines are involved in every aspect of agriculture. With time, the agricultural machinery has now reached such a point that one harvesting machine is capable of harvesting hundreds of acres of land per day. This productivity boost in the field of agriculture implies that the world has gained control over nature and can get whatever he desires in just a small timeframe.

Is It Economical to Feed Silage to Beef Cattle?

Since the advent of silage in an agricultural lifestyle, it is a common practice to feed silage to your farm animals when the cost of the grain gets high. From the 1960s until now, research has demonstrated that with more silage and less corn in the diet routine, cattle turn less proficient. But on the other hand, it’s indicated that even as transformation bend lowering down, productivity goes up inversely. Indeed, the corn silage can profit you just with a couple of key considerations. Numerous producers are of the mindset that the cost estimation of silage is equivalent to that of corn available in the market. Let’s say that you harvest corn for silage preparation, it is common sense that you don’t won’t need to combine or transport it, hence it would cut down a lot of your expense. Before choosing how silage will be integrated into the system, producer or farm owners need to define their production targets and management objectives.

Best Harvest Time

Silage production can be made profitable if the inclusion levels and the dry matter content are high, cost ought to be lower despite the fact that the performance isn’t always that good. If you want to know the best time for harvesting your silage. For that, you must gander at the cornfield and judge. Although that is a pretty tough task to do but milk line can be used as a maturity indicator of silage development. The black layer means that the maturity level of silage is 100% and harvesting at that time, won’t cause any grain loss. Harvesting the crop at 3/4 milk line implies the presence of about 36-37% dry matter. In any case, with dry matter at a level of at least 40% or above, there are more chances for the profit-ratio to rise.

Factors Affecting Beef Production from Silage

Silage Digestibility

Silage digestibility, also known as ME content, is a significant factor affecting the overall live-weight gain per ton of silage prepared. Plant’s maturity stage at the time of harvest is a major factor that impacts silage digestibility and the magnitude of metabolizable energy. Research on this has demonstrated that deferring the hour of harvest has a negative impact on silage digestibility, which would subsequently result in lowering the weight gain percentage of your livestock. This clearly depicts that comparatively high levels of additional grain must be fed as supplements if adequate amounts of forage are not available.

Fermentation Quality

Your silage would have poor fermentation quality if it is not preserved properly. This would result in the preparation of a feed that is unpalatable to the animals and their feed intake will surely reduce. A study showed that per day average weight of the animal increased from 0.27 to 0.50 kg when silage fermentation quality was improved. This task can be accomplished by either utilizing a silage additive or by the substance or through the wilting process. Moreover, it was also observed that using formic acid as an additive collectively brings significant betterments in digestibility, intake, and weight gain ratio of the stock animal.

Wilting and Silage DM Content

Another significant tool that might diminish silage effluent losses and also enhance silage intake is wilting. Wilting increases silage DM content hence increasing the silage consumption. It is proved that quick wilting lessens the losses that can occur during the process and also produces silage that is better at the quality. Wilting to a rate past 35-40% has indicated little increments in consumption and probably results in an increased number of field losses.

Use of Silage Additives

Silage Additives play an important role in beef production as they tend to better the fermentation quality.

  • Reduces the risks of producing poor quality silage. Poor fermentation is due to their low WSCs (water-soluble Carbohydrates) content or high buffering capacity.
  • They can be used to cover the field losses occurring in the cases where climatic conditions do not allow the rapid wilting to occur.
  • In such a case where the preservation is already at an optimal level, the use of silage inoculants still might result in notable progress in intake, live-weight gain, and digestibility efficiency of the beef cattle.
  • Moreover, it Improves the aerobic stability of silage while feeding


If we are talking about the shrink that factored in, alongside the expense of harvesting, packing, hauling, and storage, the net cost can be 10-15 times the cost of corn. Additionally, it also gives off a 10-15% yield drag on the maize grain at the hour of harvest. Later, this has to be adjusted when evaluating the net cost on the basis of acres of land. However, the upcoming silage conference scheduled in June would release a tool that would assist with the pricing of corn silage.

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