ISC (International Silage Conference): What We Learned

Above: Ron with Dr. Renato Schmidt, Lallemand, and Dr. Limin Kung, University of Delaware

What do you get when you combine 500 silage researchers, three years worth of research projects, and one of the hottest weeks of the summer in Bonn, Germany? The International Silage Conference! Our focus is on providing the latest in silage to our customers, always searching for information, products and resources that make profitable sense. So we went.

What we learned / affirmed:

  • Hearing affirmation that the science we've been professing/teaching/recommending is satisfying/confidence-building/electrifying.

  • Speculating on what future science can do for us all is stimulating.

  • Challenging points of view on VOC's is engaging.

  • Sharing the safety message with the Keith Bolsen Silage Safety Foundation is fulfilling.

  • Connecting/reconnecting with the world's foremost elders and up-and-comers of the silage scientific world is the best!

That sums up our International Silage Conference experience. Over and over again, we heard presentations confirming that the standards for dry matter, packing, kernel processing, chop length we recommend are solid. Oxygen is still the enemy, and getting these things dialed in lessens it's ability to ruin silage. Feed out speed and face management remains as important a factor as any. What's most important? All of it.

Rubbing elbows with the world’s silage research community is a great experience. The challenge is not just understanding the science - whether it’s engineering, microbiology, or future technology - it’s making it useful for our customers and their advisors.
— Ron Kuber

What's on the horizon?

  • More research on use of microbials and enzymes to enhance fermentation and eventual digestibility of silage.

  • Toxin formations and mitigating them.

  • Engineering that will utilize robotics and drones to harvest and pack silages.

  • Storage and covering options and systems that are economically reusable yet don't create extra chore.

  • More research on where, how, and when VOC's and other gases are formed, and how much of an issue they really are.

The benefits of using new equipment technologies come with the risk of focusing on speed rather than silage quality, but the advancements in fuel efficiency, labor and safety are interesting.