Calves and crimped grains

Here’s why you should be crimping grains and how conserve them

Crimping grains can extend the harvest window by up to 3 weeks. This makes it possible to harvest earlier and thus achieve the maximum nutritional value of the crop. The ideal time is when the grain has a water content of 35-45% which gives the best silage and the best stability.

Experiments at Reading University show additional benefits of crimped grain as it can improve the animal’s performance by slowing the release of starch and protein in the rumen compared to feeding normal dried grains. The purpose of crimping is to preserve the feed value of the crop as the best quality feed with minimal nutrient loss and at a limited cost. By rapidly lowering the pH levels with formic acid, nutrient loss is reduced and the protein quality of the feed is maintained. The presence of bacterial spores and fermentation products (eg ethanol, ammonia, butyric acid and CO2), also have a negative impact on feed quality. These must be kept to an absolute minimum through a good preservation / ensiling process of the crimped grain. By adding propionic acid the risk of heating in the early stages of the silo filling process, as well as after opening the silo, are reduced and thereby helps ensure continued good quality feed.

In Denmark, it is normal to use pure Propionic Acid 99% for crimping (which requires HACCP), where a moisture content of 35% or above is the target and approx. 5 – 7 L of acid / ton of grain is used. The moisture content of the grain determines the amount of lactic acid produced during storage. A moisture content above 35% promotes fermentation, so that lactic acid will be produced during ensiling process. Moisture content below 30% moisture content reduces the ability to ensile and the potential for heating of the grain increases. Unless dosage is increased the result will be more like . Crimping grains with less than 30% water is only recommended for preservation in an oxygen-free environment, as ensiling is very difficult to achieve.

Advantages of crimped grains

Crimped grain has a more favorable protein and starch degradation rate in the rumen compared to later harvested dried grain (Reading University 2018). This can result in a reduced risk of metabolic diseases such as rumen acidosis. Rumen acidosis can eventually lead to an increased acidity (low pH) in blood and other tissues (metabolic acidosis), which has a negative impact on the cow’s milk yield and general well-being. When the starch is too readily available to the rumen microbes, the microflora have an easier time converting it to volatile fatty acids such as propionic acid and others, which is why the rumen pH drops. Like a vicious cycle, the acidic rumen helps to increase the fermentation rate and lower NDF. Rumen acid increases the feed passage rate and lowers the feed residence time in the rumen. This leads to an increased feed intake. As the NDF degradation is dependent on the residence time in the rumen, reduced residence time will result in reduced NDF digestibility.

Normally the cow produces sodium bicarbonate in the saliva during rumination which counteracts this acidification, but in the modern cow with very high performance this is sometimes not enough, especially when we have a highly fermentable starch such as in corn. It is therefore necessary to help the cow maintain the right pH in the rumen. Some feed sodium bicarbonate others uses soda grains as these improve the pH level and lowers the degradation rate of the starch. An alternative is to make the starch less accessible to the microbes by crimping the grain and then preserving it with propionic acid. This leads to a lower degree of fermentation in the rumen. That is why crimping is one of the methods that is quickly gaining traction as it helps reduce the risk of the cow developing rumen acidosis.

However, propionic acid can be a difficult chemical to use due to its corrosivity and negative palatability impact at higher doses. If you want a solution for crimping that is more manageable then ProSid ™ MI 700 is the product for you! It is still highly concentrated and effective, but is non-corrosive and safer to use and has little affect on palatability. Using esterified propionic acid enhances the effect of the product, and with a high concentration of acid and low evaporation, the product is as effective and much safer to use than pure organic acid solutions.

Summary:

Crimping: Is a cost-effective way to produce high quality feed for all livestock.
• Make sure all seeds are crushed / rolled
• Check plastic cover regularly for damage during storage
• Wait 4-6 weeks before opening the silo
• Do not open the silo at both ends

Advantage

Extended harvest window and harvest at optimal nutritional value
• ProSid MI700 is highly concentrated but a gentle acid that works under normal conditions
• Prevents the growth of unwanted microorganisms
• Preserves the nutritional value of the feed
• Reduces dry matter losses during storage and when opening the silo
• Inhibits protein breakdown

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