Silage Additives

So what is good silage?

You need to ask yourself what do you want? This maybe different in differing farm circumstances. Early cut silages with high D values are still vital in high performance herds even if fed with maize silage. Cutting early in the season is the way to achieve this but problems of wilting and fermentation can occur.

  Silage A Silage B Silage C Silage D
Dry Matter % 32 40 26 30
Crude Protein % 13.3 12.0 16.6 14
Mj / Kg 10.4 10.0 10.3 11.2
Ph 4.3 4.9 4.6 4.1
VFA's g/kg 48.2 30.3 73.8 7.4
Lactic Acid g/kg 11.3 8.3 27.6 42.6

The above actual silage samples did not have any additives applied.

Are they good silages?

Samples A and B are typically low in crude protein and energy but what about the fermentation? They are dry silages so should not be a problem, but have a look at the fermentation characteristics. High Volatile Fatty Acids (VFA's) shows that some undesirable fermentation took place and lactic acid did not dominate the fermentation. At these dry matters Lactic Acid should be 50 - 60 gms and represent 70% of the total fermentation acids. In these cases the VFA are likely to be acetate, which will restrict intake. These silages will not be stable. Once opened they will suffer badly from aerobic spoilage and possible yeast action. This would be worsened by poor consolidatory bag / clamp management at feeding. These silages are unlikely to be stable, and could deteriorate further on the face once opened. Silage B at 40% dry matter and not very leafy, could be particularly prone to excessive yeast activity and face heating.

What about sample C?

This silage is quite wet but has a high Ph. This also has low levels of lactic acid, and butyric acid will dominate the VFA's, and the 3:1 ratio of VFA to Lactic Acid is the complete opposite of what is desired. The VFA's are likely to give an increased level of butyric acid. If we assume that there is 20 gms of butyric acid per kg DM and 10kg DM is fed of this silage this is 200 gms / day. This creates a very high risk situation of ketosis in the cow as well as reducing intakes significantly.

Perhaps sample D is what we are looking for:

Here is a silage with no likelihood of effluent at this dry matter, and obviously cut early with a higher energy level. Fermentation is perfect with a Lactic/Volatile ratio of 6:1. With short chop. Good compaction and sensible feed out regime this silage will stimulate high forage intake and optimum performance from a dairy or beef system. This is an Ecosyl treated silage.


  • Wilting does not guarantee a desirable silage.
  • The payback on a good additive can be 5:1 in terms of improved digestibility, intakes and improved yields.
  • Inoculants produce much less effluent than acids and are safe to use.
  • As the comparisons above demonstrate, what you may think is a good silage analysis does not always prove to be a good silage.
  • The lactic/volatile ratio is one of the best measures of fermentation quality
  • Earlier cutting gives higher energy silage = higher intakes and higher production more likely


Choice of Additive

You don't have to look far for the best product range, The UK company Ecosyl Products Ltd, based in Yorkshire were formally part of ICI and have led the market for many years with an ever developing range of products that are recognised the world over. In fact in 2007 Ecosyl Products were awarded the Queens Award for Industry. The 2 features that make this product range unique are the Proofs and Trial Work behind the product claims and an unblemished record on product quality with respect to bacterial counts, product shelf lifes and tank lifes. At GP we have no reservations in recommending the relevant Ecoproduct and there is also a superb range of EcoApplicators available.

Eco Additive Selector

All the Ecoproducts contain the Unique bacterial strain MTD/1 at varying levels depending on the crop type. MTD/1 is proven beyond doubt to reduce pH quickly for a fast efficient fermentation and to improve Milk Yield or Live Weight Gain once fed. All the Double Action products contain the widely used food preservative Potassium Sorbate. It is effective at reducing yeast and mould activity so minimising aerobic spoilage in clamped or baled grass, wholecrop and maize silages.

ECOSYL Products offers a complete range of silage additives. They are designed to be 'task specific' rather than 'crop specific', ie they are formulated to deal with the specific problems associated with each crop type. It is not always necessary to have a different product for each crop. The unique MTD/1 strain has been proven over a wide range of crop types and no further fermentation / animal performance benefits have been found by adding other strains. Different numbers of MTD/1 bacteria may be applied to different crops, however, depending on the ensiling conditions, especially DM and sugar contents.

The new range of acid / inoculant hybrid all include a special formulation of potassium sorbate which is a more reliable solution than an inoculant for the problem of aerobic spoilage. They all still contain MTD/1 for added fermentation and animal performance benefits.

Additive selector chart


  • Supplied in a bottle or bag for liquid or dry application (1 unit treats 100 tonnes of grass or legume silage)
  • Can be applied through any liquid applicator, Ultra Low Volume or Standard, from 20mls up to 2 litres/ tonne of forage
  • The dry applied product in a 20 Kg bag is applied at 200g/t
  • Is guaranteed to apply at least 1 million MTD/1 per gram of forage treated
  • Is delivered with a 2 year shelf life in a cool dry place
  • Once opened product can be kept in bottle or tank for 48 hrs or in a fridge for 10 days
  • 15 totally independent published studies show an average milk yield improvement of 1.2 litres milk per cow per day.


This additive brings together both an acid and inoculant hybrid in one. Designed for clamped grass silage where aerobic spoilage could be an issue for high dry matter grass, wide clamps, second cuts and buffer feeding. It gives all the fermentation and animal performance benefits of Ecosyl 100 plus improved aerobic stability.

  • Contains MTD/1 plus Potassium Sorbate 'All in One' pack
  • All the benefits of using Ecosyl 100, but will also reduce risk of aerobic spoilage which leads to heating and waste
  • Particularly useful on very dry silage, or summer fed silage, or sometimes find a place in the top half of a clamp
  • Supplied in cans for liquid application or in bags for dry application (1 unit treats 50 tonnes of grass or bi/crop
  • The liquid product is only suitable for standard liquid applicators at 2 litres/tonne


  • Contains 2 bacterial strains plus Poassium Sorbate 'All in One' pack
  • Developed specifically to treat baled silage or haylage, in large or small wrapped bales
  • Only available as liquid applied product, best applied at 3 litres/tonne of forage, or more on minibales.
  • Supplied in a can which treats 16 tonnes of forage or approx 32 x ½ tonne bales
  • Reduces activity of listeria and other spoilage organisms making the product of particular benefit to sheep and horses
  • Once treated bales are opened they seem to keep a lot longer than untreated bales.


  • Contains lower levels of MTD/1 plus Potassium Sorbate 'All in One' pack
  • Probably the most widely used product on maize and wholecrop silages in the UK
  • Reduces heating and waste at the face/feed passage and improves animal performance
  • Supplied in cans or bags for liquid or dry application (1 unit treats 50 tonnes of maize or wholecrop silage)
  • The liquid applied product is only suitable for standard application at 1 or 2 litres /tonne.


ECOCORN Varicool allows you to apply the inoculant and chemical preservative separately for maximum flexibility and control of the spoilage risk. It also allows low volume addition of both the inoculant and the chemical preservative to reduce down time.

  • All the benefits of Double Action Ecocorn
  • The MTD/1 and Potassium Sorbate are supplied separately so this product for liquid application only can be applied at lower rates
  • The MTD/1 is applied through a ULV applicator at 20mls/tonne, while the Sorbate is applied at 0.3-0.6 litres/tonne
  • The Sorbate can be applied at different levels throughout the clamp if this is appropriate.


The mixing action of the TMR wagon aerates the diet, encouraging the growth of yeasts and moulds that cause aerobic spoilage (heating and moulding). High ambient temperatures in the summer make the problem worse if buffer feeding.

  • A combination of Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Proprionate which can be added to a feed mix to increase aerobic stability
  • Supplied as a 20kg bag which will treat 60 tonnes of feed ration.
  • Mixed with water and applied at 4 litres per tonne TMR
  • Not harmful to machinery
  • Safe and easy to use

Ecosyl Products have won the 2007 Queens Award for Enterprise in support of Dairy Farmers globally.

Call the office on 01948 661602 to place your order.