Sugar in silage
Knowing the sugar content of silage is always very informative. For example, sugar is an indication of the palatability of the silage and contributes to the energy supply. This does not necessarily mean that a silage with a low sugar content is unpalatable; in fact, the sugars serve as fuel during preservation and are converted into lactic acid and acetic acid. Lactic acid is a tasty acid, and a combination of a good sugar content and lactic acid content has a positive impact on taste.
A very high sugar content (e.g. higher than 15%) increases the risk of rumen acidification.
For the conservation process to be successful, a certain amount of sugar is desirable. The sugar content in the crop depends on various factors: for example, the number of hours of sunshine contributes to the proportion of sugar in the crop, as does a short field period. A short field period keeps the most sugar in the crop.
Grass cut in the evening contains more sugar than grass cut in the morning. The dry matter content at ensiling also plays an important role: in drier grass, less sugar needs to be converted into lactic acid to make the silage stable.
Last but not least, the mowing stage also plays an important role. Older crops contain less sugar and more cel walls.