With the increase of demand for dairy products, silage production became an important technique for farmers to maintain the balance of supply to their customers. Silage is commonly made from farm crops such as corn, wheat, grasses, and other plant residues. The process of silage making is tedious as it requires extreme care in order to produce good fodder. Crops are harvested; rolled or stacked tightly inside the silo to remove the air. Inoculants such as the inclusion of lactic producing bacteria, chemicals, molasses, or enzymes were added to increase the fermentation process. Making silage is considered important in the agriculture sector to combat the periods of food scarcity; therefore silage is the preserved, ready-to-eat food for animals (Chin, n.p.; Adesogan and Newman, 1).
According to the NSW Department of Primary Industries of Australia, it is a must to check the quality of the silage because it affects the production of beef as well as meeting the demands of the market. Correct weight, color, and right fat distribution are few of the benefits of having well-made digestible silage (390). Therefore, the more finer and smaller the chop of crops, the less time spent on chewing silage which meant as an increase in silage consumption and nutrients derived from this food makes it possible for cattle and swine to increase their weight; the heavier the animal carcass, the better the income and meat (NSW Department of Primary Industries 375-376).
Silage making is indeed the solution for periods of drought and an effective way to conserve money as well as utilize the left-over pieces of crops. Despite its success, silage method is still prone to criticisms and errors. As pointed earlier, good silage is significant to the production of good meat; therefore, poor silage can lead to disastrous health risks. In their study of silage production, scholars namely Diaz and Trujillo from Utah State University claims that poorly prepared silage can lead to moderate to severe bacterial problems and toxicity: Listeria monocytogenes, which can be transferred to from cattle directly to the humans, Salmonellosis, caused by the salmonella bacteria occurs when crops used in silage were watered with a salmonella contaminated water or planted with salmonella positive animal feces. Botulism, is probably the most fatal side-effect of ill-prepared silage as it is the toxic result of the chemical reaction of Clostridium botulinum which thrives in rotting matter (e.g. silage), symptoms include “dilated pupils,” dry mouth, fatigue, and “watery diarrhea.” In addition, Neosporosis is also a bacterial infection transmitted to cattle by eating rotten silages and it is notable for “increased abortion in cattle” (117-118).
Silage and inoculants are nonetheless great agricultural inventions akin to a double-edged sword since one mistake in preparation might cause the prevalence of unwanted and deadly illnesses not only in cattle but also in humans since the latter also consumes beef. It is therefore significant that there should be an increased awareness and proper training of farmers in the production of silage to avoid the onset of these diseases.
Adesogan, A.T and Y.C. Newman. “Silage Harvesting, Storing, and Feeding.” University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). 2002. Web. PDF File.
Chin, F.Y. “Silage Production and Techniques in Malaysia.” 7th Meeting of the Regional Working Group on Grazing and Feed Resources. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. N.d. Web.
Diaz, Duarte and Jessie Trujillo. “Disease risks posed by poorly fermented silages.” Western Diary News 7.7 (2007): 117-118. Web. PDF File.
NSW Department of Primary Industries. “Feeding Silage to Beef Cattle.” Top Fodder Successful Silage (n.d.): 359-390. Web. PDF File.