The objective of this chapter was to discuss the importance of the fermentation processes for silage making and how it affects the final quality of the silage. The preservation of the forage crops as silage is based on a fermentation process that lows the pH and preserves the nutritive value of the fresh crop. The main principle is the production of lactic acid by the lactic acid bacteria from the metabolism of the water-soluble carbohydrates in the fresh crop. However, different fermentations may occur into the silo environment and it depends on the availability of substrate, the microbial populations, the moisture content, and the buffering capacity of the crop at the ensiling. The fermentation is quite important in the ensiling process because it affects the nutritional quality of the silage and the animal performance. If the fermentation does not occur as recommended and the undesirable fermentations will take place, which will result in a total spoiled feed that is potentially risky for animals and human’s health. Well-fermented silage can be used in diets for ruminant animals without any risk for their health and without compromise the productive performance.
Part of the book: Fermentation Processes
The term “spineless cactus” is used in Brazil to designate cultivars of Opuntia ficus indica Mill and Nopalea cochenillifera Salm Dyck. The spineless cactus was consolidated in Brazilian semiarid as a strategic fundamental food resource in several production livestock systems, constituting a plant with enormous productive potential. Thus, the spineless cactus has been widely cultivated and used for several decades, by enabling the animal feeding in critical periods of year because of its characteristics, morpho‐anatomical and physiological (CAM), which makes it tolerant to long droughts, being a crop that presents high productivity in droughts conditions, when compared to other forages. Nevertheless, the spineless cactus is a crop relatively picky about soil and climate characteristics of region, presenting greater growth in fertile soils, as well as in regions where nighttime temperatures are cool and the air humidity is relatively high. Although the crop be adapted to long droughts periods, many times it’s necessary to perform irrigation in its production system, mainly in regions of low rainfall, for to supply its water needs, thus ensuring productivity and survival of crop. Therefore, the knowledge of characteristics of plant, as well as of appropriate management techniques to crop, is essential for the good performance of spineless cactus.
Part of the book: New Perspectives in Forage Crops