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In search of Perfect Silage with YSI

If, like me, you have ever wondered why so many ‘hay bales’ have now gone in for black PVC outerwear, do not be concerned. This does not pertain to some form of rural degeneracy (and they are not full of hay anyway), it is actually all connected to the agricultural process of silage production.

Silage, like its dried-out cousin hay, is simply a form of stored grass. I say ‘simply’ but actually the production of silage (ensilaging) is an important and potentially error prone process that is vital to many rural communities. Grass is still the cheapest and best feedstuff for ruminants and silage represents an excellent way of retaining that nutrition after the summer grass is cut.

Silage is a sort of grass yoghurt, in that it involves an anaerobic fermentation and the production of lactic acid. In the same way that the action of appropriate good bacteria (lactobacillus and streptococcus) will help preserve nutrients in milk, so ensilaging will preserve green forage crops under acidic conditions, ensuring that they remain in an appetising and nutritious state, providing protein and vitamins, for a variety of livestock. Silage can also provide probiotics, important for animals that have been treated with antibiotics and may need their gut flora re-balancing by the introduction of lactic acid producing bacteria.

Good silage – rather like good yoghurt - has little smell, it’s light brown in colour with a sharp taste, if you’re tempted. Once fermented silage is actually very stable and can keep for years - provided that oxygen entry is restricted; hence the PVC outerwear or the use of large silage silos.

Where agriculture is big business and people’s health and livelihoods depend on efficient stock rearing, silage production, and research into the better preparation of silage, is important. It’s not surprising then that a Biotech manufacturing plant in South Africa now uses a YSI Biochemical Analyser in its work. Native Xhosa and Zulu societies are well known for the value they place on cattle and this rural economy is still a vital part of modern South African life.

The YSI Biochemical Analyser allows researchers to make fast and accurate measurements of silage lactate levels on a daily basis, from initial production stages to the final product, to evaluate both silage quality and probiotic production.

This is why YSI is becoming such a popular choice for Manufacturing and Quality Control laboratories through out the world, not just in agriculture and food industries, but in bioprocessing and biofuel production too.

The latest 2900 Series of YSI Biochemistry Analysers can produce accurate results in one minute or less. They are not just restricted to measuring lactate either - with three sensor modules they can be configured for up to six different chemistries: Glucose, Glutamine, Glutamate, Xylose, Ethanol, Methanol, Lactose, Sucrose, Galactose, Choline, Glycerol and Hydrogen Peroxide plus ISE measurement of Ammonium and Potassium.

Fast, reliable, versatile and dependable, YSI Biochemical Analysers will keep on going until the cows come home.

Date added: 2015-05-25 12:18:05