Neutral detergent fibre (NDF) digestibility is an important component of the feed intake and how feed is utilised. Digesting the fibres ensures the proteins and sugars contained in the cell walls are released into the rumen to be converted into microbial protein.

NDF and the moment of cutting

But when is the NDF content optimal for the grass to be cut? The moment just before the ears emerge is the ideal moment to cut the grass. If you cut too late, the plant will want to reinforce itself and will lignify the cell walls. The following rule of thumb applies to the first cut: cut at the fourth leaf stage, because in the first cut, the bolting date is usually too far away.

To promote the digestibility of the cell wall, enzymes can be added to the silage in the clamp. These enzymes ensure the cell wall is degraded sooner and more gradually, so the contents are released into the rumen more slowly.

Higher forage intake

As a result, the forage has a shorter retention time in the rumen which has positive effect on the intake. This makes more space available in the rumen sooner, without losing any feed quality.

Rumen acidosis is never caused by good forage or consuming forage too quickly. The higher the forage intake, the lower the risk of rumen acidosis.

The function of enzymes

Enzymes can be added in the form of a silage additive. This additive also contains lactic acid bacteria, so the silage stabilises faster. It also contains acetic acid bacteria, which become active when the clamp is opened and inhibit heating.

Read more about silage additives