The nutritional value of grass silage is often limited by its high fibre content, low protein content, variable mineral content, and variable hygienic quality. Using enzymes and inoculants to improve the nutritional value and storage stability of grass silage has long traditions in Norway. Recent advances in enzyme technology, genome sequencing and advanced bioinformatic tools have enabled the development of novel enzymes that can break down the complex carbohydrate-based cell wall structures in the grass.
Cell-wall degrading enzymes can release more fermentable carbohydrates during the ensiling process which provide more substrates for lactic acid fermentation. They also lead to pre-digestion of the complex plant cell walls, which increases the extent and rate of rumen degradation and thereby improves the overall digestibility and nutritive value of the silage.
Foods of Norway aims to improve the nutritional value of grass silage by introducing more robust methods based on mechanical, chemical and novel enzymatic pre-treatments, and by optimizing the ensilaging process using inoculants, enzymes and buffering additives. This will also offer farmers more flexibility to postpone harvest in case of bad weather conditions.
The ensilage processing affects the aerobic stability and nutritional value of the silage.