ADLib Glossary (S)

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Silo Additives & the Approvals Scheme

For silage making, the best fermentation will occur if the crop has a high carbohydrate content and a low moisture content. Often these two desirable conditions cannot be met and additives are used to assist.

Additives fall into three main types:

  1. Sugars: By adding extra carbohydrate such as molasses, the crop is better able to produce a lactic fermentation.
  2. Acids: In some countries inorganic acids are used at high rates in the silo at the time of filling to create a pickled effect. At present in the UK acids such as formic and sulphuric are applied at 3-5 l/tonne of grass as the grass is picked to reach a stable pH and consequently reduce the time taken for stability to be reached inside the silo.
  3. Preservatives: Some acid additives also contain chemicals that should suppress unwanted biochemical reactions. Examples include formalin and sodium metabisulphite.

UK Forage Additives Approval Scheme

Since November 1995 farmers have had direct access to independently assessed information on silage additives. The scheme is entirely voluntary. Additive manufacturers/distributors submit dossiers of evidence to support claims made about each additive. The dossiers are assessed by a team of independent experts assembled by ADAS, DARD and SAC, and, where applicable, approval given.

The scheme provides a comprehensive summary of the effectiveness of a particular silage additive in well defined areas. The scheme enables farmers to determine which are the best products to use for a specific purpose.

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