Feed preservation is the process of treating and handling feed to stop or greatly slow down spoilage caused by micro-organisms, which leads to losses in the nutritive value or palatability of the feed. Given the seasonality in feed production, which is marked by periods of under- and overproduction, the preservation of feed is necessary all over the world.
Preservation involves preventing the growth of bacteria (Clostridia, Listeria monocytogenes, Entereobacteriae, etc. and their toxins), fungi and yeast.
Common methods for feed preservation include:
- drying (grain, hay)
- freezing (milk for calves)
- vacuum-packing (silage)
- adding chemical preservatives (grain, wet by-products, silages with low or high dry matter content, etc.)
- osmotic inhibition (preservatives in the form of salts to reduce corrosive action in the silage surface), and
- inert gases such as carbon dioxide (preservation of feed in CO2 lungs).
A general differentiation in the techniques used for preserving feed is the presence or lack of oxygen. Grains and hay are mostly preserved aerobically with the addition of different types of preservatives. A classic example of an anaerobic preservation technique is ensiling. Although mainly used to preserve voluminous amounts of feed, ensiling also works for many other substrates including grains, by-products like fish residues, dry or wet distillers grains with solubles or DDGS/ WDGS, brewer´s grains etc.
The necessary pre-requisites for ensiling are:
- easily fermentable sugars
- anaerobic conditions
- lactic acid bacteria, and
- factors allowing their proliferation like DM content and buffer capacity.
The use of preservation agents further reduces the risk of contaminations by mycotoxins produced from fungi. These poisonous secondary metabolites are carcinogen and may cause reproductive disorders and immunosuppression.
BIOMIN’s product line for feed preservation, Biomin® CleanGrain, utilizes the action of acids and their salts in the preservation of raw materials (cereals, by-products) under aerobic or anaerobic conditions against moulds, yeast and bacteria. Biomin® CleanGrain liquid (for liquid application) has a pH value of 5 and is classified non-corrosive. This makes it an optimal choice for effective, safe and economical feed preservation.
The product line Biomin® BioStabil offers silage inoculants that are highly effective in decreasing pH-values under anaerobic conditions during the ensiling process. As a result silage aerobic stability is improved in the feed-out phase for better energy recovery. The selected bacterial strains are also effective on a wide spectrum of dry matter.