How important it is to preserve forages

Dear readers, in livestock ecosystems there are critical periods such as extreme drought where the availability of pastures decreases considerably which compromises the feeding of ruminant animals and therefore the production and stability of animals can be compromised. That is why it is recommended the implementation of food alternatives where forages can be stored in times of abundance through conservation methods that allow maintaining the quality of forage to be supplied in times of scarcity to livestock.

In that sense, there are several conservation methods within which in the tropical region of Venezuela the most used are silage and haymaking, in regions with high relative humidity it is advisable to use the silage method consisting of a wet fermentation process, while haymaking consists of the dehydration of the pasture in a natural way with exposure to sunlight once cut on the forage surfaces. in temperate subhumid and humid ecosystems, the main problem is the drying speed since it needs to lose moisture to avoid forage deterioration.

For the aforementioned, let's talk a little about silage pointing out that it is a supplement that requires a series of processes, starting from the sowing of the crop (forage) to harvest, chopping, anaerobic fermentation and stability, the latter are fundamental, because the silage needs the activity of lactic acid bacteria to ferment the water-soluble carbohydrates of the forage thus producing lactic acid and in a lesser amount acetic acid, the production of these acids help to lower the pH of the silage material to a level that helps to inhibit the proliferation of microorganisms that induce putrefaction.

The aforementioned forage conservation "silage" allows maintaining the quality of the forage for long periods, which makes it possible to have a good quality material in times of pasture deficiency, in this way the animals can have a good diet and producers avoid weight losses in their herds, milk production, it will also reduce feeding costs to producers since, there is a habit of buying concentrated feeds that have high prices.

In this same order of ideas, in livestock ecosystems there is a need to have a good food in reserve, continuously with easily produced raw material for animal nutrition and that can be made in a short time, by adding endogenous additives that help its fermentation, in addition to providing durability or stability, to be used in the basic diet of bovine animals in times of pasture shortages.

From the economic point of view there are many alternatives to apply the silage method, such as microcyls made with plastic bags, since they are an alternative that are made manually and with a low cost of production of which could sustain the life of many animals and avoid an abundant use of labor.

Dear readers, as it could be evidenced, there are economic supplementation alternatives such as the conservation of forages such as silage that can be made with different materials and natural inputs that reduce costs and do not compromise the environment. For this reason, it is considered as an agroecological technique that provides the producer with a continuous food source without chemical inoculants, expensive and that when related to the environment turns out to be favorable and this will be able to provide a food that contains a nutritional value that helps to reduce the use of concentrated foods, because these increase production costs.

Thank you for reading our post, until a next installment.

Bibliographic references
  • De la Roza B, (2005). Silage in wet areas and its quality indicators. IV Days of animal feeding. Mouriscade Laboratory. Pontebedra, Spain.

  • C.C. Wong. Koon, L.L. (1993). The role of silage in the production of ruminants in the humid tropics. Khon Kaen, Thailand.


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