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Effect of potassium sorbate application rate and timing of application on aerobic stability of corn silage.

J. D. Stypinski



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Effect of potassium sorbate application rate and timing of application on aerobic stability of corn silage.
J. D. Stypinski*, C. A. Mellinger, X. Liu, N. A. Moyer, L. Kung Jr.. University of Delaware Newark, DE.

Potassium sorbate (PS) is a known for its ability to inhibit yeasts that usually initiate aerobic spoilage in silages. The objective of this study was to determine an effective dose rate of PS for improving the aerobic stability (AS) of corn silage and to determine if the time of application (at ensiling or at silo opening) affected its efficacy. Potassium sorbate was added to freshly chopped whole plant corn at 0, 100, 250, or 500 g/t of fresh weight. Five individually replicated 7.5 L bucket silos were prepared for each of the 4 treatments. The silos were stored at 21�C and opened after 90 d of ensiling. Upon silo opening, portions of the untreated silages were treated with similar levels of PS as described. About 2 kg of silages treated with PS at ensiling or at opening were exposed to air (21�C) by placing them in clean silos that had a thermocouple wire placed in the geometric center of the silage mass. Temperature was measured every 15 min and AS was defined as the time it took before a 3�C rise in the baseline temperature of each silo. Data were analyzed as a completely randomized design using JMP and significance was declared at P < 0.01. Adding PS at the time of ensiling had minimal effects on fermentation end products (lactic and acetic acid and ethanol) after ensiling for 90 d. Increasing levels of PS numerically decreased the numbers of yeasts in silages with addition of the 500 g dose (log 3.79 cfu/g of silage) being different (P < 0.01) from untreated silage (log 4.37 cfu/g). Similarly, increasing levels of PS at ensiling increased AS with the highest dose (225 h of AS) being different (P < 0.01) from untreated silage (71 h of AS). Adding PS at silo opening, resulted in similar numerical improvements to aerobic stability similar to when it was added at ensiling. Treatment at the highest dose to silage after ensiling resulted in the greatest improvement in AS (>310 h) compared with all other treatments. In this study, a dose of at least 500 g of PS/t of fresh forage weight was needed to statistically improve the AS of silages and it did not matter if silage was treated at ensiling or after silo opening.

Keywords: silage, potassium sorbate, spoilage.