Accelerate silage fermentation with silage inoculants: DRIVE and Crop-N-Rich® MTD 1®

Posted on March 1, 2024 in Forage Foundations
By Michelle Der Bedrosian, Ph.D., Vita Plus forage products and dairy technical service specialist

In the world of silage production, achieving optimal fermentation and a rapid pH decline are key to preserving forage quality and maximizing feed value.  The pH of the silage is one of the most crucial factors in this process, affecting the overall nutritional quality of the feed.

The importance of low silage pH
A lower pH (more acidic) environment in the silo, as a result of rapid lactic acid production, creates a hostile environment for undesirable microorganisms such as Clostridia and Enterobacteria.  These microorganisms are epiphytic (meaning they are found everywhere), consume quality proteins, and produce ammonia, butyric acid, and biogenic amines, such as putrescine and cadaverine.  When present, these cause a decline in silage nutritional quality and palatability.

Clostridia growth in silages results in lower dry matter (DM) intake and reduced animal performance.  At a low DM and high pH, both Clostridia and Enterobacteria can outcompete lactic acid bacteria, resulting in massive spoilage.  Therefore, proper ensiling techniques – including the proper DM at harvest, adequate packing, prompt sealing, and use of a quality upfront inoculant – are crucial for minimizing the growth of these detrimental bacteria and preserving silage quality.

A competitive advantage in fermentation
Vita Plus offers two solutions to achieve a rapid and efficient upfront fermentation (and thus limit Clostridia and Enterobacteria growth): Crop-N-Rich® MTD/1® and DRIVE silage inoculants.

For years, Vita Plus has offered Crop-N-Rich MTD/1 to lower the pH in a variety of silages.  It is the most well-researched silage inoculant in the world with more than 200 fermentation trials, 33 animal performance trials and 40 intake/digestibility trials.  It works by producing lactic acid, which is the main acid that lowers the silage pH to a point where silage quality is preserved.

The active ingredient in Crop-N-Rich MTD/1, Lactobacillus plantarum MTD/1, is a unique bacterium because it works across a wide range of temperatures, in aerobic and anaerobic conditions, and across a very wide pH range.  This means that, whereas other inoculants require multiple bacterial strains to function as a “relay race,” Crop-N-Rich MTD/1 is fully active the second it hits the crop.

Crop-N-Rich MTD/1 is produced in a continuous culture method whereby bacteria are grown in a fermenter that is fed nutrients continuously, and the bacteria are harvested continuously.  This means the bacteria are preserved at a point of peak performance, and every bacterium is ready to aggressively produce lactic acid and multiply the second it is rehydrated.  Crop-N-Rich MTD/1 silage inoculant is the only silage inoculants produced in this manner.

DRIVE is a newly introduced Vita Plus inoculant that can be applied to drive down the pH in corn and alfalfa silages.  DRIVE has three bacteria that work together to produce lactic acid.  It’s a great fit for a producer who believes they have great silage management but wants a good “insurance policy.”

Lowering the pH as quickly as possible is crucial to making quality silage.  For access to tools, training and strategies to get the most from your forage, contact your local Vita Plus nutritionist.

Category: Feed quality and nutrition
Forage Foundations
Forage inoculants
Forage storage and management