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Book: Silage Science and Technology
Published by: American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America




  1.  p. i-xix
    Agronomy Monograph 42.
    Silage Science and Technology

    Dwayne R. Buxton, Richard E. Muck and Joseph H. Harrison (ed.)

    ISBN: 978-0-89118-234-4

    unlockOPEN ACCESS

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Front Matter


Silage is an important source of forage for ruminant animals, especially beef and dairy cattle, in many areas of the world. In the USA, nearly 10% of the corn crop along with sizeable hectarages of legume and grass forages, sorghum, and small grains are harvested as silage. In Europe, half or more of the corn hectares are used for silage. When the information presented in this publication is used to implement a harvesting, storage, and feeding system, silage will provide a high-energy, palatable, nutritious feed that utilizes the entire above-ground biomass production of the crop.

The process of ensiling results in a harvesting system that preserves high-quality forage crops for long period of time, as well as allows producers to salvage frost-or drought-damaged crops and convert them into a useable feedstock. The ensiling process often results in forage of higher quality than other harvesting techniques, especially in areas where climatic factors limit the ability to dry the crop to a storable moisture content before another precipitation event. Such climatic limitations often do not permit the consistent production of high-quality forage crops.

The authors of this publication have summarized hundreds of research articles that provide a sound scientific explanation of the technical aspects of silage production. Students, farmers, and scientists will find this book to be a useful reference.

Appreciation is expressed to the Editors, the ASA-CSSA-SSSA Headquarters staff, authors, the organizing committee, and reviewers for the countless hours they have contributed to the production of this book.



American Society of Agronomy



Crop Science Society of America



Soil Science Society of America


Production of silage, defined as the acidic, fermented, stored products from an agricultural crop, is a practice tracing its roots back some 3000 years to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. The rapid increase in application of this technology, however, has occurred mostly since mechanization of agriculture beginning in the 1940s. Advances in silo construction, harvesting technology, and improved understanding of the biology and chemistry of ensiling have advanced the rate of adoption of silage production. Silage production is now well established in Europe and North America and is gaining popularity in other areas, including tropical regions. It is especially important where the probability of precipitation limits the opportunity for dependable hay production. Silage production requires either no wilting of the crop at harvest, as in the case of com or sorghum, or less wilting than for hay, as in the case of high-moisture forage crops such as alfalfa, perennial forage grasses, or small grains.

This monograph contains 19 chapters and serves as an in-depth reference for all aspects of silage production and feeding. It is unique in its broad coverage of silage production, including in-depth discussions of microbiology, biochemistry, assessing quality, preharvest plant factors, postharvest factors, use of silage additives to modify fermentation, harvesting, storage, feeding, whole-farm management, and numerous other factors that influence the quantity and quality of silage. Individual chapters are devoted to the production, preservation, and feeding of specific crops important in silage production. The final chapter integrates information from the earlier chapters into practical applications for forage production, storage, and feeding, as well as solutions to frequently encountered silage storage and feeding problems.

The monograph is worldwide in scope, with application to most areas where silage production and use are important. The intended audience is advanced undergraduate and graduate students, scientists, skilled farm and livestock producers and their advisors, and allied industrial representatives. The authors are internationally recognized experts, carefully selected for their knowledge and understanding of various aspects of crop and grain ensiling. Multiple authors were chosen for nearly all chapters, and their combined expertise has produced a monograph that greatly enhances our understanding of silage production. It fills the void for a current, comprehensive volume on all aspects of silage production, storage, and feeding.

We express appreciation to the authors whose dedication and work made this monograph possible. We also thank the many scientists who served as reviewers for the chapters. In addition, we are grateful to Lisa Al-Amoodi, who served as the managing editor, and to all of the headquarters staff at Madison, WI, for helping with the publication.



USDA-ARS, National Program Staff

Beltsville, Maryland


USDA-ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, University of Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin


Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Washington State University

Puyallup, Washington


Kenneth A. Albrecht, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin, 1575 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706

Michael S. Allen, Department of Animal Science, Michigan State University, 2265G Anthony Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824

Karen A. Beauchemin, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Centre, Box 3000, Lethbridge, AB T1J 4B1, Canada

Keith K. Bolsen, Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506-0201

Jock Buchanan-Smith, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada

Dennis R. Buckmaster, Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, 230 Agricultural Engineering Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802

Dwayne R. Buxton, USDA-ARS, National Program Staff, 5601 Sunnyside Avenue, Room 4-2150, Beltsville, MD 20705-5134

David G. Chamberlain, Hannah Research Institute, Ayr, Scodand KA6 5HL, UK

Larry E. Chase, Department of Animal Science, 272 Morrison Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

D.J.R. Cherney, Department of Animal Science, 327 Morrison Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

J.H. Cherney, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, 503 Bradfield Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853

Wayne K. Coblentz, Department of Animal Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701

Mike Collins, Agronomy Department, University of Kentucky, N222 E. Ag. Science North, Lexington, KY 40546-0091

James G. Coors, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin, 1575 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706

Frank Driehuis, NIZO Food Research, P.O. Box 20, 6710BA Ede, The Netherlands

Stephen A. Ford, Blythe Cotton Company, 20215 County Road 150, Town Creek, AL 35672

S.C. Fransen, Washington State University, Prosser IAREC, 24106 North Bunn Rd., Prosser, WA 99350-8694

Joseph H. Harrison, Washington State University Research and Extension Center, 7612 Pioneer Way, Puyallup, WA 98371

Ronald D. Hatfield, USDA-ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, 1925 Linden Drive West, Madison, WI 53706

Pekka Huhtanen, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, Animal Production Research, FIN-31600 Jokioinen, Finland

Carl W. Hunt, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844

Jan C. Jofriet, School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada

John J. Kennelly, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, 4-10 Agriculture and Forestry Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2P5, Canada

Limin Kung, Jr., Department of Animal and Food Science, University of Delaware, 531 S. College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-1303

William E. Kunkle, (deceased) formerly Department of Animal Science, University of Florida, Box 110910, Gainesville, FL 32611-0910

C.J. Lin, The Mennel Milling Company, Box 1280, Roanoke, VA 24006

Bill Mahanna, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, 7100 N.W. 62nd Avenue, Johnston, IA 50131

Kenneth J. Moore, Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011

James R. Morris, Ridgetown College, University of Guelph, Ridgetown, ON, Canada

Lowell E. Moser, Department of Agronomy, University of Nebraska, P.O. Box 830915, Lincoln, NE 68583-0915

Richard E. Muck, USDA-ARS, U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, Room 232, 1925 Linden Drive West, Madison, WI 53706

Padraig O'Kiely, Teagasc, Grange Research Centre, Dunsany, Co. Meath, Ireland

Stefanie J.W.H. Oude Elferink, Institute for Animal Science and Health, Edelhertweg 15, P.O. Box 65, NL-8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands

Günter Pahlow, Institute of Crop and Grassland Science, Federal Agricultural Research Center, Bundesallee 50, D-33116 Braunschweig, Germany

Michael T. Panciera, Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, Berea College, CPO 1497, Berea, KY 40404

R.E. Pitt, Bryant College, 1150 Douglas Pike, Smithfield, RI 02917

John A. Rooke, Research and Development Division, Scottish Agricultural College, Craibstone Estate, Aberdeen AB21 9YA, UK

C. Alan Rotz, USDA-ARS, Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, Building 3702, Curtin Road, University Park, PA 16802

Gregory W. Roth, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, 116 ASI Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802

Philippe Savoie, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Quebec City, QC G1V 2J3, Canada

Kevin Shinners, Biological Systems Engineering, 460 Henry Mall, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

Mary Kay Siefers, Office of Leadership Studies and Programs, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506

Trevor K. Smith, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada

Sierk F. Spoelstra, Institute for Animal Science and Health, Edelhertweg 15, P.O. Box 65, NL-8200 AB Lelystad, The Netherlands

Martin R. Stokes, Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, University of Maine, 5735 Hirchner Hall, Orono, ME 04469-5735

Z.G. Weinberg, Forage Preservation and By-Products Research Unit, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan 50-250, Israel

William P. Weiss, Department of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University, OARDC, 1680 Madison Avenue, Wooster, OH 44691

James S. White, Silage Solutions, Sioux Center, IA 51250

J. Michael Wilkinson, School of Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds LS 2 9JT, UK



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