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 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Ammoniated corn silage?

Dairy Pipeline: September 1996

by Carl E. Polan
Dairy Nutrition
Department of Dairy Science
Virginia Tech

Ammoniating corn silage paid off in a big way over the past year with the cost of feed supplements going into orbit. Price of feed may come down some, but don't look for cheap feed any time soon. However, the price of anhydrous ammonia is about equal to last year, so why not make some higher protein corn silage and pay for the application equipment in feed protein savings the first year. Advantages of ammoniation are several: 1) economical replacement of protein, 2) promotes desirable fermentation products in the silage, 3) preserves more of the original plant protein, which may improve protein nutrition of the cow, and 4) inhibits mold and yeast growth in the feed bunk, prolonging freshness of quality and more stable feedbunk life. All of this results in more intake of highly nutritious feed for milk production. There are some disadvantages. Ammonia is a toxic chemical, so you must have proper equipment in order to apply in a controlled safe manner. Also, it will remove paint from surfaces with which it comes in contact, but nothing that a can of spray paint won't correct. It would be another thing to deal with during silo filling, but would probably pay back in grand style.

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