Wild Yeasts, Aerobic Stability of Silages & TMR Potential Negative Effects – Dr. Limin Kung University of Delaware and Bonni Kowalke, Stem Ag Consulting

Podcast Topic

Our Real Science Exchange pubcast always has leading scientists and industry professionals discussing the latest ideas and trends, and tonight, we have two distinguished guests. Dr. Limin Kung and Bonni Kowalke join us to discuss wild yeasts in silage.


Dr. Limin Kung University of Delaware and Bonni Kowalke, Stem Ag Consulting

Episode 87: Wild Yeasts, Aerobic Stability of Silages & TMR Potential Negative Effects


Dr. Kung begins by giving an overview of the impacts of wild yeast on silage, where they’re either going to anaerobically ferment sugars to ethanol or aerobically; these wild yeasts can lead to spoiled silages and spoiled TMR. (8:32)

Bonni and Limin then go on to detail management strategies and practices for reducing the impacts of wild yeast on silage and TMR, including harvest speed, silage moisture content, pack density, feed-out rate, and additives. (10:59)

Bonni gives her perspective as a consultant about how she works with clients ahead of silage harvest to be able to prevent wild yeast infestation or any other problems. Most of her notes come right after harvest is finished with a list of things the farm wants to do differently next time, which she likes to a game plan for a team sport. (18:09)

Dr. Kung describes how to determine if you have an issue with wild yeast in silage. Primarily, one would see aerobic instability via heating and perhaps molding. There will be a distinct telltale odor as well. Unfortunately, there is no on-farm test; samples must be sent to the lab for analysis. (23:10)

Limin and Bonni give their top issues in regard to silage quality that they see in the field, along with ways to help producers get the very best quality silage off their fields each year. (26:40)

This takes a turn into a discussion about how drone technology could be used in the future for perfecting silage moisture content predictions in the field before chopping. (32:02)

Scott asks Bonni and Limin about the addition of NPN (such as urea or anhydrous ammonia) or sugar sources (such as molasses) to silage and what kind of impact that might have on silage quality. (37:24)

Bonni gives an overview of silage inoculants and additives. (47:13)

Limin and Bonni conclude by comparing the stability of legume silages and corn silages, an overview of inoculation best practices, and their take-home messages to ensure high-quality silage. (51:28)

As mentioned in the show, Bonni Kowalke’s contact information at Stem Ag Consulting is [email protected].

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