The success or failure of your silage determines its ultimate shelf life, palatability and feed value. It also has a significant impact on the likelihood of harmful fungi or bacteria in your silage. The Conservation index in Eurofins Agro's Forage Analysis indicates the effectiveness of your silage preservation.
During silage preservation, lactic acid bacterium is the most important player. This bacterium converts sugars into lactic acid, which lowers the pH. When the pH is low enough, an equilibrium is created and bacterial growth stops. An oxygen-free environment, i.e. an airtight silage, is a necessary condition for the growth of the lactic acid bacteria. If the conditions are not right, other undesirable bacteria, such as butyric acid bacteria, will have a chance to thrive. There is also a risk of overheating. Such undesirable processes often reduce the value of the feed.
The conservation index runs from 0 to 100, with the target range being 80+. This index provides very useful information on your silage technique. Silage that is poorly conserved cannot be improved, but the conservation index indicates which silage is best to feed to your young cattle.