The nutritional value of forages is often limited by the high fiber content (ca. 50 %, of which 1/5 is totally indigestible), low protein content, variable mineral content, and variable hygienic quality. Current means of improving nutritional value of grasses are good, but not robust enough considering the challenging climatic, harvesting and topographical conditions in Norway.
The interest in enzymes and inoculants as silage additives is not new; however, recent advances in enzyme technology, genome sequencing, together with advanced bioinformatic tools, have enabled large numbers of as-yet uncharacterized carbohydrate-acting enzymes to be identified. Cell wall degrading enzymes will release more fermentable carbohydrates during the ensiling process providing extra substrate for lactic acid fermentation, and also result in a predigestion of the complex plant cell walls, thereby increasing the extent and rate of rumen degradation and hence improve the overall digestibility and nutritive value of the silage.
In Foods of Norway we aim to improve the nutritional value of grass silage by introducing more robust methods based on mechanical, chemical, and novel enzymatic pretreatments, and by optimizing the ensilaging process using inoculants, helper enzymes, and buffering additives. Thus, this will also offer farmers more flexibility to postpone harvest in case of bad weather conditions.