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Heated Up Maize Silage

Maize silage which has heated up - damage limitation


If you are one of those farmers whose silo maize was ensiled with drought damage and is now at risk of aerobic deterioration, you may find the following tips to limit the damage useful.

Increase the feed-out speed

The cutting surface of the silo is where oxygen can enter the silage. This will easily penetrate deeper silage layers, feeding yeasts which break down the lactic acids: the pH value will increase as a result of the acid breakdown process, mould spores will sprout. The silage will go mouldy. This process is reinforced at temperatures of over 10°C. You can counteract this process by significantly increasing the feed-out speed (> 3 m a week).

However, since there is a limit to the amount of maize you can feed, you might consider sharing the feed removed with a neighbouring farm. After feeding out the silage from farm A, you then jointly feed out the silage from farm B.

Whereas slightly heated up feed can still be fed to animals, moulded silage must never enter the feed chain. Although the colour of the mould is an indication of the type of mould concerned, this does not enable you to determine whether the silage contains mycotoxins, which are more detrimental.

Treating the cutting surface

The cutting surface can be sprayed with propionic acid or a non-corrosive product, e.g. with our MAIZE KOFASIL LIQUID or KOFA GRAIN -pH 5-. In view of the health risks, which are commonly known, only use straight acid in the event of an emergency. Our products listed above will help you achieve the same effect in a safe manner.

However, do not overestimate the effect of treating the cutting surface. The maximum penetration of the additive is approx. 3 cm.

For the same reason, you should not set your hopes too high when treating silage blocks; damage can only be limited by quickly feeding out endangered silages.

Caution when adding heated silo maize to TMR mixtures

Be extremely careful when using heated silo maize to create TMR mixtures for example. If the yeast and mould spores, contained in great numbers in the silo maize, are mixed with oxygen, they will multiply very quickly. This will not only affect the maize quality, but it will also contaminate the other components of the feed chain with the latent heating effects and spoil them.

Feed your mixtures as fast as possible and always add KOFA TMR Concentrate to the mixture to stabilise it. This will allow you to keep energy losses and the microbial load within acceptable limits for a short period.

Re-ensiling only in the event of a real emergency

The most radical form of ensuring the feed quality is re-ensiling. This means that the entire silo it pulled apart, the bad feed is discarded and the remaining maize is brought together, compacted and covered up again.

If these activities are carried out carefully and expediently, this can be an effective measure to limit the damage in extreme situations. Again, the risks will be there where air can access the silo and induce the effects explained above. Since such silages have already fermented through and through, adding approx. 6 litres of KOFA GRAIN -pH 5- per ton can suppress further microbial conversion processes. The costs and results of this measure must be weighed carefully for every individual situation.


It is a fact that the weather conditions which are favourable to aerobic deterioration in the silo cannot be changed. However, you can take targeted preventative measures such as those explained in our maize ensiling tips. To further reduce the risk of aerobic deterioration, the controlled used of appropriate silage additives is advisable.

Damaged crops which already contain yellow and withered leaves must be treated very carefully. Special attention must be paid to keeping the chop length as short as possible and to sufficient compaction to enable most air to be expelled from the silo.

Such silages must be treated with MAIZE KOFASIL LIQUID to kill all the yeasts and moulds and their spores which are already present in the fresh forage in great numbers. As a rule, a bacteria preparation will no longer offer sufficient protection for maize which has already been affected so badly, since conditions are no longer ideal for the bacteria if the dry matter content is well over 40%.

Crops which are ready to be harvested and whose leaves are still green can be protected with KOFASIL LIFE "M" very effectively, in which case the acetic acids produced by specially selected lactic acid bacteria will safely prevent heating up and aerobic deterioration at a later stage.