Research Progress and Future Perspectives of Silage

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Soil and Plant Nutrition".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2022) | Viewed by 13645

Special Issue Editors

Institute of Food Sciences, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland
Interests: lactic acid bacteria; silage microbiology; yeast biotechnology; circular economy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Institute of Technology and Life Sciences - National Research Institute Falenty, 3 Hrabska Avenue, 05-090 Raszyn, Poland
Interests: grassland management; forage quality; silage additives; animal performance; beef meat quality; organic farming
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Silage production will remain a key part in animal production systems across tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions. This demands continuing approaches for the production of high-quality silages involving improvements in management practice to minimize losses and maximize the preservation of the inherent feeding value of the parent crop. Today, silage is not only feed but also a valuable and sustainable source for bioenergy and biorefineries, and preserving green biomass by ensiling provides an environmentally friendly recycling method for agricultural and food industry byproducts. So far, effective techniques of ensiling and novel additives to improve the fermentation and aerobic stability of silage have been designed. The key biochemical pathways in silage fermentation have been described together with the effects of microbial and chemical additives on fermentation and aerobic stability during the feed-out phase. Still, novel research on microbiota of ensiled plants by genetic tools is highly desirable. Future perspectives include improving food safety and animal health by increasing the hygienic quality of silage, reducing the environmental impact of silage by decreasing the loss of nitrogen to the environment, reducing methanogenesis in the rumen, and increasing methane yield from silage as biofuel, and the use of silages as feedstocks for multiple ends uses in biorefineries. In this Special Issue, we are looking for publications that can bring together different aspects concerning silage production.

Topics included but are not limited to: 

  • Silage microbiology and biochemistry;
  • New trends in silage technology and management;
  • Silage utilization and animal production;
  • Fermented feed for non-ruminants;
  • Silages for biogas production;
  • New technologies to monitor and improve silage quality;
  • Economic issues of silage production.

Dr. Agata Urszula Fabiszewska
Prof. Dr. Barbara Wróbel
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • aerobic stability
  • biodegradable films
  • dry matter losses
  • hygienic quality of silage
  • silage additives
  • silage microbiota

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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15 pages, 2229 KiB  
Article
Fermentation Quality and Chemical Composition of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) Silage Inoculated with Bacterial Starter Cultures—A Pilot Study
Agronomy 2023, 13(5), 1371; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13051371 - 13 May 2023
Viewed by 1660
Abstract
Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a plant species cultivated as a raw material for fiber extraction. Alternatively, hemp biomass can be used for feeding or energy purposes. This study was conducted to investigate the effect of inoculation with a lactic acid [...] Read more.
Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) is a plant species cultivated as a raw material for fiber extraction. Alternatively, hemp biomass can be used for feeding or energy purposes. This study was conducted to investigate the effect of inoculation with a lactic acid bacteria starter culture on the fermentation and chemical compositions of hemp silages. Hemp shoots (HS) and hemp flowers (HF) were ensiled in mini laboratory silos without or with the inoculation of the commercial starter culture Lactosil Biogaz (Lentilactobacillus buchnerii KKP 907 p; L. buchneri A KKP 2047 p; Pediococcus acidilactici KKP 2065 p). After 7 and 42 days of ensiling, the fermentation quality and chemical compositions of the silages were assessed. The use of Lactosil Biogas for hemp resulted in a decrease in pH, increase in lactic acid (LA), and reduction in fungal abundance in the HS silage. In the case of the HF silage, the bacterial inoculation was less effective; however, an increase in LA and a decrease in butyric acid (BA) were observed. As a result of the ensilage process, decreases in crude fiber and hemicellulose were observed in the HS and HF silages. Thus, hemp ensiling with biological additives is an effective pre-treatment of hemp plants for subsequent biofuel production that can preserve the biomass and provide the year-round availability of feedstock. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Progress and Future Perspectives of Silage)
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9 pages, 812 KiB  
Communication
Nutritional Characteristics of Corn Silage Produced in Campania Region Estimated by Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS)
Agronomy 2023, 13(3), 634; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13030634 - 23 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1227
Abstract
In formulating balanced rations for ruminants, knowing the chemical composition of forage and feeds in general is crucial to create adequate nutritional plans that meet animals’ feed requirements. From July to December of 2020, a total of 175 samples of corn silage hybrid [...] Read more.
In formulating balanced rations for ruminants, knowing the chemical composition of forage and feeds in general is crucial to create adequate nutritional plans that meet animals’ feed requirements. From July to December of 2020, a total of 175 samples of corn silage hybrid PR31Y43 grown (135 days of maturity class) in three sites (Piana del Sele, Vallo di Diano and Caserta) of the Campania region (South Italy) were collected and analysed by using a portable Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS). The area of cultivation/storage of corn silage highly (p < 0.05) affected the nutritional characteristics of the analysed samples. The silages produced in the Vallo di Diano showed the significantly highest (p < 0.05) DM content compared to those from the other sites (349.3 vs. 323.4 and 328.1 g/kg as feed from Caserta and Piana del Sele, respectively). The structural carbohydrates were significantly higher (p < 0.05) in Piana del Sele feed than those in both Caserta and Vallo di Diano feeds (420.1 vs. 396.7 and 397.6 g/kg as feed), whereas the non-fibrous carbohydrates were significantly higher in Caserta and Vallo di Diano feeds (p < 0.05; 469.6 and 471.8 g/kg as feed); intermediate values were registered in the corn silages produced in Piana del Sele (446.6 g/kg as feed). No differences were detected for protein levels. The NIRS technology could be useful to obtain fast and accurate picture of silage quality. The knowledge of the nutritional characteristics of silages can improve the formulation of balanced rations, contributing to guarantee animal welfare and good productive performances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Progress and Future Perspectives of Silage)
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14 pages, 576 KiB  
Article
The Effects of Short-Time Delayed Sealing on Fermentation, Aerobic Stability and Chemical Composition on Maize Silages
Agronomy 2023, 13(1), 223; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13010223 - 11 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1549
Abstract
Despite the efforts to improve the methodological standards of silage trials, many factors that can influence the results of lab-scale studies need to be better understood. This study aimed to determine the effects of short-time delayed sealing and inoculation with a blend of [...] Read more.
Despite the efforts to improve the methodological standards of silage trials, many factors that can influence the results of lab-scale studies need to be better understood. This study aimed to determine the effects of short-time delayed sealing and inoculation with a blend of Lentilactobacillus buchneri and Lactiplantibacillus plantarum on fermentation, aerobic stability, and chemical composition of silages. Whole-crop maize was treated with or without a commercial inoculant and ensiled (29.3% dry matter) for 55 days in 8.8 L PVC silos that were sealed immediately (up to 30 min delay) or after a delay (90, 150, or 210 min between chopping and sealing) with five replicates each. The increasing air exposure before sealing increased fermentation losses and reduced silage nutritional value. Crude protein and ash were significantly affected by inoculation, with control treatments showing higher ash and lower protein values. Lignin, neutral detergent fiber, and acid detergent fiber were only affected by the delay period. The longer the sealing delay, the higher the gas production, and the lower the starch values and lactic acid content observed in samples. Inoculation was inefficient in reducing total dry matter losses, but it increased aerobic stability, acetic acid, and ethanol contents of silages and reduced effluent loss. Control silages had higher total dry matter loss during the aerobic exposure than inoculated silages. The results confirmed that the delay periods tested were long enough to negatively interfere with the chemical composition of silages, especially the fibrous fraction content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Progress and Future Perspectives of Silage)
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14 pages, 2360 KiB  
Article
Effect of Length of Storage and Chemical Additives on the Nutritive Value and Starch Degradability of Reconstituted Corn Grain Silage
Agronomy 2023, 13(1), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13010209 - 10 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1191
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the feed quality of reconstituted corn grain silage (RCGS), treated with chemical additives and stored for 15, 30, or 60 d in 5-L plastic buckets. Dry ground corn was rehydrated to 350 g·kg−1 and [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the feed quality of reconstituted corn grain silage (RCGS), treated with chemical additives and stored for 15, 30, or 60 d in 5-L plastic buckets. Dry ground corn was rehydrated to 350 g·kg−1 and treated with either polysorbate 80 (2 L·t−1) (POL), propionic acid 28% (2 L·t−1) (PRO), Mycoflake™ (2 L·t−1-blend polysorbate 80 and propionic acid) (MYC) or nothing (CON). The effect of the length of storage was combined in a factorial arrangement with the additives. Ammonia-N increased from d-15 of storage. A treatment × storage length interaction was observed for ethanol content at d-60 of storage, and all treatments had lower ethanol concentration than CON. There was an interaction for butyric acid content at d-30 and d-60 of storage; CON showed higher butyric acid concentration than treated silages. Aerobic stability increased from d-15 to d-30. At d-15 of storage, the PRO and MYC treatments decreased the DM losses. The length of storage increased the ruminal in situ degradability of starch, and DM and MYC increased the DM degradability in 3.6 percentage units at 12 h of incubation, compared with POL. In conclusion, increasing the length of storage of the RCGS from d-15 to d-60 improved the starch and DM degradability. Mycoflake increased the availability of nutrients, and the length of storage enhanced the aggregation of particles; further, polysorbate 80 (Tween 80) might be further studied as a potential antimicrobial agent in silages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Progress and Future Perspectives of Silage)
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17 pages, 309 KiB  
Article
Fermentation Quality of Silages Produced from Wilted Sown Tropical Perennial Grass Pastures with or without a Bacterial Inoculant
Agronomy 2022, 12(7), 1721; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12071721 - 21 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1486
Abstract
High growth rates and rapid reproductive development and associated decline in feed quality of sown tropical perennial grass pastures present management challenges for livestock producers. Conservation of surplus forage as silage could be an effective management tool. Experiments were conducted to evaluate the [...] Read more.
High growth rates and rapid reproductive development and associated decline in feed quality of sown tropical perennial grass pastures present management challenges for livestock producers. Conservation of surplus forage as silage could be an effective management tool. Experiments were conducted to evaluate the fermentation quality of silages produced from tropical grasses. Five species (Chloris gayana, Megathyrsus maximus, Panicum coloratum, Digitaria eriantha and Cenchrus clandestinus) were ensiled without additives after a short, effective wilt at dry matter (DM) contents ranging from 302.4 to 650.1 g kg−1. The fermentation profile of all silages in 2019 was typical for high DM silages, but in 2020 ammonia (% of total nitrogen: NH3-N), acetic acid and pH levels were higher. In 2020 M. maximus (302.4 g kg−1 DM) was poorly preserved with 20.2% NH3-N. The DM content of all other silages exceeded 350 g kg−1 and fermentation quality was generally good. In a second experiment, M. maximus was ensiled at 365 g kg−1 chopped and 447 g kg−1 DM chopped and unchopped, either without or with Pioneer 1171® (Lactobacillus plantarum and Enterococcus faecium) or Lallemand Magniva Classic® (L. plantarum and Pediococcus pentasaceus) bacterial inoculant. Inoculants increased lactic acid production, reduced pH and improved fermentation compared to Control, but D-lactate, L-lactate and acetic acid production differed between inoculants. Unchopped silages had higher pH and NH3-N and better preserved protein fraction than chopped silages at the same DM content. In both experiments, wilting increased water soluble carbohydrates by 0.5–31.5 g kg−1 DM and ensiling increased degradation of the protein fraction. We concluded that a rapid and effective wilt combined with a bacterial additive resulted in well preserved tropical grass silages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Progress and Future Perspectives of Silage)
11 pages, 2896 KiB  
Communication
Short Communication: Prognostic Values of a Multiparametric Risk Score in Maize Silage Undergoing Different Ensiling Conditions
Agronomy 2022, 12(4), 774; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12040774 - 23 Mar 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1263
Abstract
We studied the effects of the use of Lactobacillus buchneri (Lb) and the maize pre-ensiling composition on the aerobic silage stability in a panel of 88 maize ensiled 60 days in 21 L buckets. Lb was dispensed at three dosages and compared to [...] Read more.
We studied the effects of the use of Lactobacillus buchneri (Lb) and the maize pre-ensiling composition on the aerobic silage stability in a panel of 88 maize ensiled 60 days in 21 L buckets. Lb was dispensed at three dosages and compared to a control (pure water). The prognostic multiparametric risk score was used to find the risk factors related to the chemical composition of the fresh plant, associated with the onset of aerobic instability in maize silage. A multivariable Akaike’s Information Criterion in the backward Cox proportional hazard regression was estimated for pre-ensiled maize chemical traits. A Multiple Factorial Analysis (MFA) was calculated. The hazard ratios were 1.02, 1.34, 0.66, 0.65, 1.57, and 1.06 for dry matter (DM), crude protein (CP), ether extract (EE), aNDF, lignin (sulfuric acid, sa), and water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC), respectively (p < 0.05, DM, p = 0.15). At the MFA, ash, CP, aNDF, ADF, and lignin (sa) were grouped with a positive Dim-1, while DM, EE, and starch were grouped with a negative coordinate; WSC stood alone with Dim-1 close to zero. CP, EE, aNDF, lignin (sa), and WSC resulted in the most relevant traits and were used to build the nomogram. The use of strains of Lb improved the aerobic stability for maize harvested at <300 g/kg of DM. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Progress and Future Perspectives of Silage)
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12 pages, 481 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Fermentative Quality of Ensiled High-Moisture Maize Grains by a Multivariate Modelling Approach
Agronomy 2022, 12(2), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12020429 - 09 Feb 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1397
Abstract
The study aimed to define a grain-adapted quality score (GQS) to assess the fermentative pattern of ensiled high-moisture maize grain (EMG) based on organic acids, ammonia, and ethanol data of a lab-scale dataset. The GQS was validated by comparison with both the Flieg-Zimmer’s [...] Read more.
The study aimed to define a grain-adapted quality score (GQS) to assess the fermentative pattern of ensiled high-moisture maize grain (EMG) based on organic acids, ammonia, and ethanol data of a lab-scale dataset. The GQS was validated by comparison with both the Flieg-Zimmer’s quality score (FQS) and a standardized quality score (SQS) by a received operating analysis. Compared with FQS and SQS, the cut-offs of poor/good samples for the proposed GQS were 47 (accuracy of 0.94) and 71 points (accuracy of 0.88) over 100, respectively. The relationship among indices was also tested in a farm-derived dataset by arranging a confusion matrix, which showed the higher predictive performance considering the lower cut-off. On the lab-scale dataset, a factorial discriminant analysis (FDA) assessed the most predictive chemical post-ensiled traits able to segregate EMG samples according to three fermentative quality classes of GQS. High-quality samples were accurately determined as having a positive correlation with lactate, while low- and middle-quality ones were partially overlapped and correlated with NH3-N, butyrate, and propionate. The validation of the FDA model in the blind farm-derived dataset confirms the effectiveness of the proposed GMS to rank between poorly- or well-preserved EMG. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Progress and Future Perspectives of Silage)
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Review

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24 pages, 543 KiB  
Review
Dry Matter Losses in Silages Resulting from Epiphytic Microbiota Activity—A Comprehensive Study
Agronomy 2023, 13(2), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13020450 - 02 Feb 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2550
Abstract
An overview was made of dry matter (DM) and quality losses that occur during the ensiling process. The aim was to review the current knowledge on the course of the fermentation pathways in various raw materials and the loss of DM accompanying this [...] Read more.
An overview was made of dry matter (DM) and quality losses that occur during the ensiling process. The aim was to review the current knowledge on the course of the fermentation pathways in various raw materials and the loss of DM accompanying this process. This review discusses the main groups of microorganisms involved in the ensiling process, the accompanying fermentation patterns, and the resulting DM losses. The possibility of reducing DM and quality losses during the ensiling process in practice is presented. The paper concludes with future perspectives and recommended management practices to reduce losses over the whole ensiling process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Progress and Future Perspectives of Silage)
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